UPDATED: Big days ahead for field hockey and football

Photo: New field hockey field, showing the artificial turf and blue sideline area, and the scoreboard.
The new field hockey field, with USA Field Hockey-certified artificial turf. The scoreboard is at the field's south end. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The Aggies are gearing up for two big events — on the field and on "The Farm" — at the beginning of the 2014-15 athletics season.

First, this Saturday (Aug. 23), the university dedicates its new field hockey field, and immediately afterward the women's field hockey program will hold its first ever alumnae game. The celebration will continue at an evening reception.

The following Saturday, Aug. 30, the football team returns to Stanford for the first time since the September 2005 game that turned out to be one of UC Davis' greatest victories ever. Down 17-0, the then-Division II Aggies would beat the Division I Cardinal, 20-17.

More X's and O's: Ladies, if you’re not sure why football is sometimes called a game of X’s and O’s, then maybe the Women’s Huddle is for you, to help you learn more abiout football in general and Aggie football in particular. The football program presents the huddle annually as a fundraiser, and this year's is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at Aggie Stadium.

More about all three events:

FIELD HOCKEY (Aug. 23) — The dedication ceremony for the new field, officially the Aggie Field Hockey Facility, is set for 12:30 p.m. and the alumnae game at 1. The dedication and game are free and open to the public. The field is at the southeast corner of La Rue and Dairy roads, across from the Tercero student housing area.

RSVPs for the dedication and game are due by the end of the business day Wednesday, Aug. 20, to Alli Kopas by email.

"This is an exciting step forward for the women's field hockey program and one the university community will be very proud of," said Terry Tumey, athletics director.

Construction began in May on what the women’s field hockey program describes as its “Field of Dreams,” giving the team a field hockey-specific stadium for the first time. Donors, parents, the Department of Athletics and the campus contributed to the $3.2 million project.

UC Davis field hockey had held its practices and games at Aggie Stadium since varsity competition resumed in 2009. But Aggie Stadium’s artificial turf, while ideal for football and lacrosse, is not so good for field hockey, which requires shorter blades — otherwise, the game is slower-paced than it should be.

The new field has USA Field Hockey-certified artificial turf, putting UC Davis on par with most other collegiate programs in the country, including nationally ranked teams that will now come to Davis to play instead of meeting the Aggies at Cal or Stanford.

Bike racks, bleachers, water fountains and scoreboard are in — awaiting the dedication and the alumnae game.

Afterward, the celebration moves to the Moss Patio at the Buehler Alumni Center, where the "Field of Dreams" reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. The cost is $20 per person or $15 for UC Davis alumni. Contact Kopas for tickets as soon as possible — as space is limited.

The first “real” game on the new field is scheduled for noon Sunday, Aug. 31, when the Aggies take on Fairfield University (Connecticut). Here's the complete schedule.

See athletics department slideshow showing field construction progress from groundbreaking to now.

FARM VS. FARM (Aug. 30) — The athletics department has arranged for bus transportation to and from Stanford (nicknamed "The Farm"), and reported today (Aug. 14) having a limited number of tickets still available. The price is $40, and the bus tickets do not include game admission.

Game tickets for the Aggie section are still available through the Stanford ticket office. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. for this first preseason game for both teams.

On game day, look for the Aggie Central gathering site adjacent to Stanford’s Fan Fest. Bring your own food, or buy at the Fan Fest.

UC Davis vs. Stanford: tickets, transportation, parking and pregame activities

The night before, the Cal Aggie Alumni Association plans a Vintage Aggies Wine Tasting: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.

The cost is $30 for CAAA and Parent Association members, $40 for nonmembers. Prices include appetizers and wine tasting. Online registration. CAAA advises people to register in advance, because there will limited availability at the event.

Aggie football opens its home season on Saturday, Sept. 6, vs. Fort Lewis (Colorado), kickoff 6 p.m. Here's the complete schedule. Buy tickets here.

WOMEN'S HUDDLE (Aug. 22) — Designed to engage female fans, including staff, parents, alumnae and donors

Coach Ron Gould and his assistants and the team will be there to help you learn Aggie football's X’s and O’s — used in diagramming plays, with the X's denoting defensive players and the O's the offense.

Participants also will have the opportunity to participate in drills — so wear athletic shoes!

The cost for UC Davis staff members is $25 (or $45 otherwise), including hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and T-shirt.

To RSVP or ask questions, contact Kara Heckler by phone, (530) 754-2593, or email. Download the registration form here.

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Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556, dljones@ucdavis.edu

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