Nov. 3, 2011
IRVINE, Calif. -
Amanda Hardeman scored in the 64th minute on Thursday night for the match's only goal as top-seeded UC Irvine downed fourth-seeded UC Davis 1-0 in a Big West Women's Soccer Tournament semifinal match at Anteater Stadium.
The loss ends the Aggies' first appearance in the conference tournament since moving to NCAA Division I in 2007. UC Davis fell to 11-7-1 overall after completing the league season last weekend with a 4-3-1 mark.
UC Irvine, ranked 16th by Soccer America, won its seventh straight game, improving to 14-3-2. The 'Eaters will meet second-seeded Long Beach State on Sunday for the Big West title and the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. The 49ers downed third-seeded Cal State Northridge 2-0 in the other semifinal earlier Thursday.
UC Davis and UC Irvine played to a 2-2 double-overtime tie at Aggie Soccer Field in September and Thursday's match was just as close despite the 'Eaters outshooting the Aggies 8-3 in the first half. Goalkeeper Maria Magana was one of the main reasons the game remained scoeless for nearly 64 minutes, making all four of her saves in the first half.
Defense tightened during the early part of the second half with the teams combining for just four shots over the first 18 minutes, three of them by UC Irvine. The 'Eaters, though, broke through with the game's only goal when CoCo Goodson found Hardeman with a pass and Hardeman delivered to the inside far pot from 10 yards out for her second goal of the season.
The Aggies had four shots the rest of the game with their only attempt on goal stopped by UC Irvine keeper Jennifer Randazzo. Lisa Kemp, though, nearly tied it in the 87th minute but her shot hit the crossbar and Allison Kelly's shot just eight seconds later was high as UC Davis made one last run.
Despite the loss, the Aggies have put together a strong season. UC Davis has enjoyed its best Division I season, putting together winning streaks of four games early in the season and then five games recently as it surprised many by finishing fourth in the Big West despite being picked to place eighth.
The Aggies have scored at least four goals in four games, were 5-2-1 at home, beat Causeway Classic rival Sacramento State 1-0 in August, and won six games by shutout. They also own a tie against UC Irvine which was ranked 19th nationally when they tangled earlier this season.
Much of the success can be attributed to a strong senior class which features nine outstanding seniors - Jenna Brehmer, Taylor Chamberlain, Aisha Lott, Anna Quigley, Annacy Wilson, Rachel Kahn, Elise Winbrock, Magana and Kemp.