Four teams, four NCAA Tournament competitors from a season ago.
That’s the reality that UC Davis faced at the TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational at New Mexico last weekend.
The Aggies (3-1-0, 0-0-0) lost their first game in overtime to Louisville, 1-0, but rebounded quickly to beat Michigan State, 4-2. Louisville finished the tournament 2-0, while New Mexico and UC Davis posted 1-1 showings. Michigan State was 0-2.
“It was a great tournament,” head coach Dwayne Shaffer said. “The level of soccer was very impressive.”
UC Davis and Louisville took a scoreless tie to overtime. Four minutes later, that tie was over, as Bryan Kanu’s goal gave the Cardinals a 1-0 win.
“I thought we did everything possible to win that game,” Shaffer said. “We created several opportunities to score goals, but unfortunately we weren’t on target and couldn’t get a lead.”
UC Davis made the most of its opportunities on Sunday.
Four different Aggies found the back of the net en route to a convincing 4-2 win over Michigan State.
Senior forward Quincy Amarikwa scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season, while senior midfielder Dylan Curtis notched his second two-assist showing of the campaign.
“It was our day,” Shaffer said. “Michigan State is a good team. We just played an outstanding game.”
The Aggies will be looking for more of the same come Sunday, as UC Davis plays host to San Jose State (1-0-1). The game begins at 1 p.m. at Aggie Soccer Stadium.
“I know their coaches very well,” Shaffer said. “I’m expecting them to be a well-coached and organized team. You just never know what you’re going to get with San Jose State.”
Shaffer expects to see continued improvement from his team.
“I honestly feel like we’re not even close to our peak.… We are capable of getting better and better, and hopefully we can start to hit our peak when we begin conference competition in a few weeks.”
ADAM LOBERSTEIN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.XXX