UC Davis traveled to Las Vegas for Labor Day weekend for a different reason than the thousands of vacationers.
The Aggies were not there to take some time off from work, but rather to put some work in at the UNLV Nike Invitational.
Play opened up with a match-up against Robert Morris on Friday. UC Davis marched through the Colonials, shutting them out 3-0.
The Aggies followed Friday’s dominating performance with a 3-1 victory over Central Arkansas on Sunday.
With the two wins over the weekend at the Invitational, UC Davis moves to 2-1 on the season after getting off to a rough start at Spartan Stadium on last Tuesday.
Friday – UC Davis 3, Robert Morris 0
UC Davis made up for the opening game loss to San Jose State with a dominating performance against Robert Morris.
The Aggies‘ scoring was diverse. Sophomore Rene Cuellar got UC Davis on the board first, scoring off of a Riley Newport corner kick in the 38th minute.
Junior Julian Godinez doubled the Aggies lead with a shot in the 68th minute. UC Davis found the back of the Colonial net a third time in the 86th minute on a Chris Leer to Jason Santos give-and-go.
Defensively, UC Davis kept Robert Morris to four shots per half. Robert Morris felt the pressure of the UC Davis defense, as the Colonials did not put one shot on frame in the second half.
“Against Robert Morris we took the wind out of their sails right away,” said coach Dwayne Shaffer. “Athletically we were just better than them and it was our day.“
Sunday – UC Davis 3, Central Arkansas 1
The Aggies brought more of the same strong play to the pitch Sunday against Central Arkansas.
“We had a great game against Central Arkansas,” Shaffer said. “We were just too much for them“
Senior Paul Marcoux got UC Davis on the board early, cleaning up a rebound off of a Santos free kick in the eighth minute. Marcoux drove home another rebound in the 24th minute to bump the Aggie lead to two.
Central Arkansas did get on the board with a Ricky Garcia header in the 36th minute.
After the half, Juan Hernandez added another UC Davis score from the middle of the Central Arkansas box to pad the Aggie lead.
With Marcoux’s two-goal first half performance and the insurance provided by Hernandez‘ score, UC Davis coasted the rest of the way to another dominating win in Las Vegas.
“We were clearly the better team in both games,” Shaffer said. “It was particularly nice because our returning players really stepped up and played well.“
Coach Shaffer’s team will only have a day or two to enjoy the victories. The Aggies will face two formidable opponents in UCLA and Washington in their next two contests.
“Both teams play in the Pac-10 which is consistently one of the top five conferences in the nation,” Shaffer said.
UC Davis will make the journey south to Westwood on Thursday to take on the Bruins at Drake Stadium at 7 p.m.
Sunday, the Aggies will play their home opener when they face off against the Washington Huskies in a 1 p.m. matinee.
JOHN S. HELLER can be reached at email@example.com.