Aug 15, 2013
Exhibition Game 1
UC Davis Aggies
Saturday, Aug. 17 - 5 p.m.
Aggie Soccer Field (1,000) - Davis, Calif.
DAVIS, Calif. - Less than two weeks after reporting for its inaugural set of meetings and practices, UC Davis will face the Oregon Ducks in each team's lone exhibition match of the 2013 season on Saturday, Aug. 17. Kickoff at Aggie Soccer Field is scheduled for 5 p.m.
For nine Aggie newcomers, Saturday's match will serve as their inaugural exposure to competitive soccer at the Division I level and first step towards making a successful transition from the high school to collegiate level.
Even though 10 starters from last year's team are found on this year's roster, every player is taking full advantage of practices scheduled for the week in an attempt to secure one of 11 coveted spots in this year's lineup.
"Everyone arrived for our first practice in shape," said head coach Maryclaire Robinson. "Since we have a tough non-conference schedule, hopefully all that hard work will allow us to have a strong start to our season."
In a year where everyone within the program possesses championship aspirations, players are looking at Saturday's duel against the Ducks as one of their final opportunities to showcase their skills in an attempt to secure a starting spot.
Led by a group of six seniors, 26 UC Davis letterwinners will compete this season for Robinson and her staff. Possessing one of the deepest, and experienced rosters in the conference, a spot in this year's NCAA College Cup are realistic goals for a team that seeks its first Big West championship and second trip to the conference tournament.
The Aggies' first-ever Big West Tournament appearance took place in 2011, a season that saw UC Davis earn 11 wins - its highest total since joining the conference in 2007.
Unlike the Aggies who will play 10 of their first 12 matches outside Davis, Saturday's meeting is Oregon's only road trip before the start of Pac-12 action in early October. Once the Ducks leave Davis, the team will play nine straight games on their home field - a block of action that also includes contests against Big West counterparts UC Irvine and Hawai'i.
Responsible for seven of her team's 19 goals scored last season, sophomore forward Kristen Parr is one of 16 Oregon players (and five starters) returning this year. Combined with six newcomers also competing in head coach Kat Mertz' inaugural season, the Ducks hope their season ends with the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament in its 17-year history.
Mertz is not the only new coach that will roam the sidelines at Aggie Soccer Field for the first time as UC Davis assistant Colin Garon will also make his inaugural appearance as a member of Robinson's staff.
Garon joins Aggie women's soccer after spending the last three seasons at Humboldt State, most recently as his alma mater's interim head coach.
Arriving to UO after spending the 2012 season as the head coach at Saint Louis University, Mertz' staff is rounded out by two assistant coaches, Christie Welsh and Hideki Nakada, who will also don Oregon colors for the first time this Saturday.
Oregon is one of three Pac-12 teams UC Davis will face throughout the year; also on the Aggies' schedule are matchups against Cal (Sept. 8) and Utah (Sept. 18).