Aggies hit the road looking for Big West berth

Oct. 25, 2017

UC Davis (4-10-2, 3-1-2 Big West) at UC Riverside (6-10-2, 3-3 Big West)
Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. | UCR Soccer Stadium | Riverside, Calif.
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UC Davis (4-10-2, 3-1-2 Big West) at Long Beach State (8-6-2, 2-3-1 Big West)
Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. | George Allen Field | Long Beach, Calif.
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KICK OFF: The Big West Conference regular season title and berths in the upcoming league tournament are up for grabs entering the final week of the regular season as the UC Davis women's soccer team heads to Southern California looking to punch its ticket to the postseason. The Aggies, who stand third in the standings entering the week, open against fifth-place UC Riverside on Thursday night (Oct. 26) at 7 p.m., before taking on Long Beach State in a Sunday matinee (Oct. 29) at 2 p.m.

IN THE RANKINGS: Neither UC Davis, UC Riverside, nor Long Beach State, are ranked among the top 25 in the nation entering this week's contests.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in UC Davis women's soccer by "liking" them on Facebook (/UCDavisWomensSoccer) and following them on both Twitter (@UCDavisWSOC) and Instagram (@UCDavisWSOC). You can also follow Head Coach Twila Kaufman on Twitter (@twilakaufman) and Instagram (@TwilaKaufman).

BIG WEST BIG PICTURE: Reigning Big West regular season champion CSUN is the only school to have clinched a berth in the tournament, sitting atop the table with 14 points following its scoreless draw at UC Davis last week. The Aggies sit third with 11 points, one point ahead of fourth-place Cal State Fullerton, two points back of second-place UC Irvine, and two points ahead of UC Riverside -- which it faces on Thursday. Three teams (Long Beach State, Cal Poly, and UC Santa Barbara) have outside chances, sitting tied at seven points.

ABOUT THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside enters the week with a 6-10-2 overall record and a 3-3 mark in Big West play… The Highlanders have lost their last three contests dating back to a 1-0 win over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 5, falling to CSUN (1-0), UC Irvine (2-0), and Long Beach State (3-0)… UC Riverside is 3-3-1 at home this season, but has lost two of its last three… Teammates Quinley Quezada and Ashley Webb share the team lead with three goals and eight points, while Quezada has unleashed a team-high 41 shots on the year… Goalkeepers Alanna Guzman (12 games) and Annie Bailey (10 games) have split time in net, with the former leading the way with 40 saves and the latter posting a team-best 1.29 goals against average and two shutouts.

SERIES RECORDS: The Highlanders lead the all-time series with the Aggies, 6-4-3, but UC Davis is 4-1-1 in its last six meetings with UC Riverside… The Aggies posted a 4-0 win over the Highlanders last season in Northern California… UC Davis is just 2-5 against UCR on the road, falling 3-1 in its last trip to the Inland Empire in 2015… The Aggies' last win in Riverside came on Oct. 24, 2013 -- also their last win in the series until last season… The two teams have played to double overtime four times, with Highlanders holding a 1-0-3 lead in those matches.

ABOUT THE 49ERS: Long Beach State enters the week with an 8-6-2 overall record and a 2-3-1 mark in league play… The 49ers, who shut out UC Riverside, 3-0, in their only match last week to snap a four-match winless streak, travel to CSUN on Thursday before hosting the Aggies… Five of Long Beach State's eight wins have come at home as the 49ers are 5-2-1 at George Allen Field… Senior forward Tori Bolden leads the team with 11 points on four goals and three assists, standing tied with teammate Rola Badawiya for the team lead in goals… Goalkeepers Imani McDonald (nine starts) and Mia Hummel (seven starts) have split time in net, with the former leading the team with 30 saves and four shutouts, and the latter posting a 1.10 goals against average and three shutouts.

SERIES RECORDS: The 49ers hold a commanding 9-2-1 lead in the series with the Aggies dating back to 2005… Long Beach State is unbeaten in the last six meetings with UC Davis, posting a 5-0-1 record in those matches… The Aggies' last win over the 49ers came on Oct. 31, 2010, with a 1-0 decision at home… UC Davis' only other win in the series came on Oct. 20, 2008, in a 2-1 victory at the Aggie Soccer Field… The Aggies have yet to win in Long Beach, posting an 0-5-1 record on the road, including a 2-0 defeat in 2015.

ONE MORE: One more Big West win this week would not only go a long way in securing a tournament berth, it would also give the Aggies four wins in conference play for the first time since finishing 4-3-1 and earning the program's only Big West postseason berth in 2011. Meanwhile, the Aggies' 10 points earned in conference play thus far are just one shy of the team's entire total from last season that put UC Davis fifth in the final league standings -- its highest since the Aggies finished tied for third in 2011 with 13 points.

ALL ALONE AT THE TOP: A three-save night in a 1-0 shutout of UC Irvine on Oct. 12 has junior goalkeeper Alexis Smith all alone at the top of one UC Davis career chart, as the San Jose, Calif., native collected her 18th shutout as an Aggie to break a tie with Kelly Parker (1997-00) atop the all-time list. The materials science and engineering major added another in a scoreless draw against CSUN to extend her record to 19 and stand four shy of the top 10 in Big West history.

SHOT STOPPER: Smith's shot-stopping exploits continued with nine saves combined against UC Santa Barbara and CSUN, giving her 199 for her career and placing her just six back of Parker on the school's all-time list. Her 78 stops this season are a single-season best, topping her 71 saves last season, and enters the final week of the regular season leading the league in save percentage (.839) and saves per game (5.57), while ranking second in the Big West in saves.

HELP ME, HELP YOU: Senior Mandy McKeegan's assist against on the game-tying goal at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 15 was the 11th of her career, moving her ever closer to the top five in the UC Davis record books, needing just four more assists to match Kim Haskell (1993-96) and Laura Whitsitt (1994-95) for fifth on the all-time chart. The neurobiology, physiology, and behavior major from Manhattan Beach, Calif., ranks tied for sixth in the Big West in assists and eighth in assists per game (0.25) entering this week.

IN IT TO WIN IT: A lucky bounce here or there and the Aggies' record thus far through 2017 would look a lot different. Thirteen of UC Davis' 16 matches overall (the second most of any Big West school this year), and nine of the team's 10 defeats this year (the most of any league member this season), have been decided by a single goal.

NO GOALS FOR YOU!: Or us either, for that matter. The scoreless draw with CSUN on Oct. 22 marked the 14th such result in the program's Division I history and the first since a similar result at Cal Poly last season. Sunday's draw marked the third consecutive season that the Aggies and Matadors have finished in a scoreless draw -- tied for the most scoreless draws against a single opponent along with UC Riverside (2008, 2010, and 2014).

THIS CLOSE: The 13 matches decided by a single goal for the Aggies in 2017 surpasses the total of such games accumulated by the Aggies in each of the last three seasons and are the most since the 2007 squad played in 13 one-score contests. The nine defeats by a one-goal margin this year are the most since the 2009 team had its heart broken nine times by a single goal.

DUAL THREATS: Standouts on the field and in the classroom, UC Davis student-athletes compete at some of the highest levels of Division I athletics while preparing for life after college at the nation's No. 6 public university. Featuring the nation's top veterinary medicine and agriculture schools, UC Davis student-athletes are enrolled in 93 of the 104 undergraduate programs offered by the University -- 10 of those represented by the women's soccer program...

Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior (4): Jessica Lima, Mandy McKeegan, Aliyah Walker, Sydney Burger
Materials Science & Engineering (1): Alexis Smith
Human Development (5): Crystal Crump, Emma Hasco, Daniella Giancarli, Riley Marshall, Artrea Williams
Biological Sciences (4): Ari Zamora, Kristie Braken-Guelke, Caitlin Hedde, Haileigh Rose
Biomedical Engineering (2): Monet Kunz, Hailey Rittershofer
Economics (2): Nicole Carson, Oreoluwa Aderibigbe
Managerial Economics (2): Olivia Jones, Kristina Sola
Communication (3): Mckenna Moriarty, Roisin Allaeddini, Aubrey Goodwill
Civil Engineering (1): Courtney Van Winkle
Psychology (1): Zuzu Romano
Undeclared (5): Lauren Bouvia, Casey Palmer, Mahlah Catline, Alicia Sloss, Laura Nichol