UC Davis claimed a historic first victory with a 4-9 to 1-10 victory over UC Berkeley on Sunday afternoon at Treasure Island. It was closely contested match, but the Culchies — who began play in 2011, two years after Stanford and Cal – rode a strong defensive effort and some timely goal-scoring to the win.
The CCGAA championship was decided last weekend as Stanford claimed the Gary Duffin Cup, but even though this match had no title implications, both Cal and Davis came out full throttle and got stuck in right from the beginning. Berkeley was playing with eight men to Davis’ nine, but the match was very even through the early going. The team’s traded points early, before Davis’ Mitch Hennessy grabbed the game’s first goal.
Cal responded with a point off of a great individual effort from Dan Wait, and began to put pressure on the Davis backline with some nifty ball movement. However, Davis kept them out of the goal with some last-gasp defending, including a big stop by goalie Randy Sanders on Cal forward Richie Douglas. This would prove to be a big momentum shift, as Hennessy added another goal at the end of the half to put the score at 2-5 to 0-6.
History would repeat itself at the start of the second half – after Wait pointed early, Sanders once again made a huge stop against Douglas in a 1v1 situation. Almost immediately after, the ball was cleared to the other end of the pitch, where Davis forward Jesse Burns found the back of the net to increase the margin to double digits. After Davis back Jim Daly scored a point off of a long run and Hennessy hit a free, it was looking like it could turn into a blowout.
The Bears gamely fought back though, starting with an incredible over-the-shoulder redirect point from Douglas. Cal midfielder Gerard O’Reilly connected on a few long-range points, and Wait finally tallied the goal Berkeley had been searching for after some sustained pressure in the Davis end. Cal continued to pour forward, but Davis resolutely defended, with Daly in particular doing a heroic job of mopping up. Finally, Davis put the game out of reach with another goal from Burns as Cal’s backs pushed up to join the attack, Burns picked up a long ball over the top and found himself completely clear on goal, finishing calmly to ice the victory. It was hard luck for Berkeley, who had fought well, but a completely deserved first victory for the hurlers from Davis.