By Abrahan Cortes
DAVIS, CA––On an eventful weekend for UC Davis Club Sports, the Women’s Lacrosse club team made some noise, particularly by beating a well-guided Santa Clara University team. In the performance, the Aggies displayed the team’s determination, as well as the fantastic team chemistry created from their long season.
With the Aggies entering the latter half of their scheduled season, the team has put together some impressive wins, proving to be serious contenders this year. Opening the season at the SB Shootout with two impressive wins, over the University of Southern California (12-4) and Grand Canyon University (13-9).
In one of the Aggies’ latest contests, they were able to handily secure the win over Santa Clara University (17-11). The mid-season drama took place right on campus, on Dairy Field, on Feb. 11. The match-up in Davis was chilly, with the opening face-off not until 6 p.m., and temperatures closing in at 40 degrees fahrenheit.
Nevertheless, the Aggies seemed particularly unfazed, braving through the cold and coming out hot to open up the match. Elaina Oliveira and Athena Hulanas would lead the Aggies, quickly propelling the team to a 4-0 lead. The duo ended the first half with an impressive seven goals combined against a strong Santa Clara team.
However, Santa Clara responded with two consecutive goals after conceding four unanswered goals. Despite the Aggies’ slight struggle to dominate possession, Izzie Castillo’s impressive performance would ultimately shift the tide back in favor of the Aggies. Castillo’s agility and speed helped create space, ultimately leading to Castillo’s first goal of the match.
Castillo would get another assist, lobbing the ball over the top of the Santa Clara defense, right into the goal area, and finding Hulanas, resulting in the Aggie’s sixth goal. Despite the Aggies’ early success, Santa Clara refused to be counted out; assembling a small comeback, scoring three unanswered goals to tie the game 6-6.
However, with the Aggies stacked in experience, any momentum lost was quickly regained. Oliveira, Castillo, and Hulanas would each find their following goals, putting the Aggies up by two going into the second half, 9-7.
The Aggies’ early success can largely be attributed to their ability to adapt and respond to Santa Clara’s strong comeback attempt. Despite conceding two goals, the Aggies remained composed and continued to play with a sense of urgency, thanks in part to the impressive performances of Oliveira, Hulanas, and Castillo.
The consecutive goals were an important confidence booster for the team, as they look to carry their momentum into the rest of the season. Overall, the Aggies’ strong start, impressive individual performances, and ability to respond to adversity make them a team to watch in the upcoming season.
In the second half, the Aggies would go on to dominate, continuing to find the back of the net, while allowing Santa Clara only three goals. The Aggies tally up eight goals of their own by the end of the second half, resulting in the final score of 17-11.
With the win secured, the Aggies have put together a rather dazzling stat sheet. The goal-scoring leader, Oliveira, finished the game with eight goals, followed by Hulanas with five goals and two assists. Castillo’s two-goal contribution nicely adds to the assist leader’s four assists.
Looking forward, the Aggies aim to continue this dominating run, proof of greater success. The Aggies are seemingly a well-oiled machine with a sense of competition on the team: offensively clicking and defensively owning the opposition.
Throughout the remainder of the season, the games are only going to get tougher, it’ll be interesting to see how the Aggies respond. The next home game is on March 11, Saturday at Dairy Field, starting at 10 a.m.
In summary, the Aggies have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with, as their goal is set on being one of the best teams in the southwest region. They have shown incredible skill, determination, and teamwork, which has helped them to secure some impressive victories against tough opponents.
Their success is also helping to raise the profile of women’s lacrosse, and it is an important step towards achieving greater equality and recognition for female athletes in all sports. With their eyes firmly set on even greater success, the team is sure to continue making waves in the world of women’s lacrosse.