The UC Davis men’s soccer team’s season of achievement continues.
The Aggies have been a top-15 program in the nation since early October, having beaten the likes of No. 8 Michigan State, Cal Poly and archrival UC Santa Barbara.
The team not only qualified for the NCAA Tournament, but also earned a first-round home game – the first UC Davis team to do so in any sport.
Now, the team’s accomplishments are producing individual accolades.
Senior forward Quincy Amarikwa and senior midfielder Dylan Curtis have won the Big West Conference’s Offensive Player and Midfielder of the Year awards, respectively.
They were also named first-team all-conference.
“I wasn’t even thinking about it,” said Amarikwa, who led all Big West scorers with 15 goals and was second in points with 31. “I kind of forgot about all that stuff you can get. It’s like we’re thinking we’re still in transition to Division I and can’t receive accolades. No one on our team has really gotten anything like it before.“
A Pleasanton, Calif. native, Curtis tied for the conference lead with 10 assists. He’s one helper shy of UC Davis‘ single-season record.
“I was clearly very excited,” Curtis said. “It’s a big honor. The guy who won it last year, Matt Murphy from UC Irvine, is still in the conference, so it means a lot.“
“It’s something that the coaches voted on. It’s an honor getting recognized by someone other than your own team, someone you’ve played against.“
Curtis also earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America third-team honors. He’s the second Aggie soccer player to do so, and first since Matt DeJong accomplished the feat in 2000.
Senior defender Jordan Vanderporten was named second-team all-conference, while senior midfielder and junior midfielder Paul Marcoux earned honorable mention recognition.
“We have a lot of talent on this team,” Curtis said. “I can think of a few more names that probably could have been up there. … Ryan McCowan was an unbelievable goalkeeper for us this year, not to take anything away from Cal Poly’s goalkeeper, [Eric] Branagan-Franco. Nathan Jarman and Chris Beville had awesome years. They very well could have made conference, too.“
Curtis added earning all-conference and player of the year recognition was in his mind from the start of the season.
“It’ll be something fun to look back on and remember the season by, as if we haven’t given ourselves enough to remember,” he said. “As of now, though, it’s not something I’m dwelling on.“
Instead, Curtis and the Aggies have their focus on first-round NCAA Tournament action. UC Davis will host Denver at Aggie Soccer Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Practice is going well,” Amarikwa said. “We’re glad to be able to play another day. I think Denver has a lot they’re going to have to deal with come game day. The fan support is going to be ridiculous, the intensity, our enthusiasm, our speed – I don’t feel they‘re going to be ready for it.“
Tickets cost $5 for UC Davis students, faculty and staff, and $7 for adults. They can be purchased by visiting the Freeborn Hall ticket office, calling 530-752-1915 or online by searching “UC Davis soccer” at tickets.com.
ADAM LOBERSTEIN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.