Oct. 11, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Pink will be the theme on Friday afternoon when the UC Davis women's soccer team, facing Long Beach State in the first of two tough home matchups this weekend, will help raise cancer awareness with the color pink prominently featured before and during the game.
UC Davis will host the 49ers, picked to win the Big West Conference this season, at 3 p.m. at Aggie Soccer Field. The Aggie Pack will be distributing rally towels to the first 200 UC Davis students that come to the game. The Aggies will stay at home for another key match, facing UC Irvine at 1 p.m. Sunday's game will feature Aggie Pack t-shirts to the first 50 students.
The Aggies enter the weekend with a 7-5-1 overall record and a 2-1 mark in the Big West. They're currently tied with Cal State Northridge for fourth place. UC Davis has been off since posting an exciting 3-2 win at Pacific last Friday.
Long Beach State is 9-5 overall and in sixth place in the league with a 2-2 mark. The Anteaters, who will face Pacific on Friday night, are 7-8 overall but are tied for second in the Big West at 3-1, just three points behind Cal Poly. UC Irvine was picked to finish second in the conference this fall.
"We're excited to be home," said Aggie coach Maryclaire Robinson, whose team has been on the road for its last seven matches. "This is our first homestand since school started and we're looking forward to playing in our facility in front of our fans."
UC Davis opened the season by playing five of its first six games at home, posting a 4-1 mark in those matches, but Robinson knows the challenges will be difficult this weekend.
"Conference games are played at a different level and this weekend will be no different," she said. "Both UC Irvine and Long Beach are great opponents and both have shown vulnerabilities this season in conference play. Our resilience and goal-scoring production from a variety of players sets us apart.
"We've been dangerous in the attacking third and created excellent opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net," she added. "The final three regular-season weekend will undoubtedly feature great soccer."
Balanced scoring has been a hallmark for the Aggies this season with nine different players scoring goals but no one tallying more than four. Ashley Edwards and freshman Sienna Drizin - who scored twice including the game-winner at Pacific last week - each have four goals while Kiele Argentehas three.
UC Davis is getting plenty of opportunities to score, averaging a league-best 16.5 shots per game. Its 20 goals are tied for fourth.
The Aggies' will be facing a potent offensive unit from Long Beach State which leads the Big West in points per game (5.57), goals (1.93) and assists (1.71). Nadia Link has been the primary cog of that attack, tallying six goals and eight assists to lead the conference in both areas. Eileen Maes has six goals and 15 points.
The 49ers have played a challenging schedule and have won two of their past three games. The only blemish recently was a 4-3 loss in double-overtime to league-leader Cal Poly.
UC Irvine has faced five ranked teams in its difficult schedule and has wins against then-No. 21 Auburn on Aug. 26 and then No. 21 Oregon State on Sept. 2. The Anteaters also lost in extra time to Cal Poly but rebounded to beat UC Santa Barbara 3-1 last Sunday.
Natalia Ledezman is tied for fifth in the Big West in points (11) and has five asssits. Laura McGrail has scored five times, tied for third in the league.
UC Davis will be using Friday's match to heighten cancer awareness and will be featuring the color pink throughout its efforts. The Aggies will be wearing pink warmup tops while also wearing pink socks, athletic tape pre-wrap and hair bands.