The much anticipated Big West Conference season kicked off for the Aggies last week.
It got off to an exciting start on Wednesday with a 2-1 double overtime victory on the road against UC Irvine.
The Aggies were back in action on Sunday in San Luis Obispo to take on the Cal Poly Mustangs.
Though the Aggies were able to get off 13 shots, they were unable to score, losing 1-0 to the Mustangs.
With the 1-1 start to conference play UC Davis moves to 4-7 on the season with eight matches left.
Wednesday – UC Davis 2, UC Irvine 1 (2OT)
UC Davis began league play on Wednesday in Irvine by narrowly edging out last year’s Big West champions.
The Anteaters got things going early with a goal in the 10th minute to take the early lead.
The Aggies would respond in the 29th minute off of a set piece.
Junior Julian Godinez provided the ball and fellow junior Nathan Javadi headed home his first goal of the season to tie things up at 1-1.
The teams went into the half with the score tied at 1-1 but UC Irvine wasn’t done attacking the net.
In the 63rd minute, the Anteaters had a great opportunity on a free kick but UC Davis keeper Ryan McCown stonewalled the shot by Amani Walker shot and then denied another Anteater shot one minute later.
After 90 minutes the two teams were locked at 1-1.
In the first overtime period, the Aggies were unable to get off a shot while the Anteaters only attempted one.
In the 106th minute of play, freshman Michael Garrick found the captain, Paul Marcoux, on a breakaway run accounting for the winning goal for UC Davis.
“We knew that they were throwing players forward and susceptible to the counter attack,” assistant coach Eric Mild said. “Once Mike and Paul collected the ball and started moving toward goal you could see the players get off the bench and saw that a good opportunity was going to present itself.“
Marcoux finished the play and the celebration began as the Aggies took the game in dramatic fashion, 2-1.
Sunday – Cal Poly 1, UC Davis 0
After returning home for their first free Friday in two weeks, the Aggies headed south yet again to take on the Cal Poly Mustangs at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
The Mustangs came out of the gates quickly, shooting early and often and forcing Aggies keeper Ryan McCown to make a save in the third minute.
UC Davis responded with a flurry of shots. Godinez and senior Chris Leer forced the Cal Poly keeper to make saves in the 18th and 23rd minute respectively.
In the 43rd minute the Mustangs ran one in from three yards out in taking a 1-0 lead into the half.
The Aggies came strong in the second half, but couldn’t get one past the Cal Poly keeper.
Marcoux and sophomore defender Lance Patterson each tested the goalie in the 58th minute, but were unable put one past him.
In the 1-0 loss, Marcoux led the team with four shots and four other Aggies had two shots apiece.
“We created some great chances,” said coach Dwayne Shaffer. “We just unfortunately didn’t finish any. “Any time you’re on the road you hope for a result. Whether it’s a win or a tie, you just try to get some points.“
UC Davis will look to do more than tie in its upcoming home stand.
The Aggies will first take on UC Riverside tomorrow at 3 p.m. On Sunday, Aggie Stadium opens its doors to Cal State Fullerton for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Finally, UC Davis wraps up its second to last home stand of the season at 3 p.m. the following Thursday against UC Santa Barbara.
All three matchups are of the ever-important Big West Conference sort.
“I think the team is excited to have a nice stretch of some home games,” Shaffer said. “It just seems like we’ve been on the road nonstop. To play at home in front of our fans is great for us.“
JOHN S. HELLER can be reached at email@example.com.