In 2004 and 2005, the UC Davis men’s soccer team welcomed the likes of Sule Anibaba, Jordan Vanderpoorten, Jake Mogelson, Dylan Curtis, Ian Conklin and Ahmad Hatifie – not to mention MLS draft pick Quincy Amarikwa of the San Jose Earthquakes.
In 2008, this group became seniors and put together the best season that the men’s soccer program has ever seen, and arguably the best in the two years of Division I athletics at UC Davis across the board.
With these seniors and a supporting cast of underclassmen including goalie Ryan McCowan, defender Lance Patterson and midfielder Paul Marcoux, the Aggies finished the season 13-4-5 and in fourth place in the highly competitive Big West Conference.
“The conference is extremely competitive,” coach Dwayne Shaffer said. “There is a high level of soccer that is competing with the Pac-10, Mountain West and West Coast Conference.“
With their regular season accomplishments in hand, the Aggies were granted UC Davis‘ first ever Division I home game in a NCAA Tournament.
The team proved UC Davis to be worthy, advancing to the second round of playoffs after a 4-0 dismantling of Denver at Aggie Stadium on Nov. 22.
“It was the biggest win in the first round in terms of scores,” Shaffer said. “It was great that the players were rewarded for their hard work.“
Unfortunately, UC Davis fell 2-1 at the hands of Michigan in the next round in the snowy tundra of the U-M Soccer Complex.
“What a great, exciting and fun year,” Shaffer said. “Anybody that had an opportunity to watch us over the past two years was treated to some great soccer.“
Now it’s The California Aggie’s turn to send some accolades the men’s soccer team’s way, proudly naming it its 2008-2009 Team of the Year.