Teams: UC Davis vs. No. 3 UC Santa Barbara
Records: Aggies 5-8 (2-2); Gauchos 9-2-1 (3-0)
Where: Aggie Soccer Stadium
When: Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Who to watch: So far this season UC Davis has been playing a particularly physical brand of soccer.
The Aggies are led in their physical play by their two big-bodied defenders, Lance Patterson and Dan Reese, who have been hit with their fair share of yellow cards this season.
UC Davis will need Patterson and Reese’s physicality in taking on a UC Santa Barbara team that is not scared of a little contact.
Did you know? Games between UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara are notoriously physical.
Two seasons ago when the two teams played in Santa Barbara, the game broke out into fisticuffs and a total of four red cards were handed out.
The Aggies were able to hold on for the tie despite being the lesser of a 7-on-9 in overtime.
Preview: Today’s contest is arguably the Aggies’ most important match of the season up to this point.
Over the past two years, the teams have come into Big West Conference play with similar records. This year UC Davis has struggled in non-conference play.
Due to this, the Aggies now must make up ground in order to put themselves into position to make the Big West Tournament.
Whether or not UC Davis makes the Big West Tournament will help to determine if the team will get its third straight NCAA Tournament bid.
As UC Santa Barbara is yet again the class of the Big West in 2009, sweeping the two game set with the Gauchos – or at least coming out with a win and a draw like they did last season – will increase UC Davis’ chances of seeing the postseason.
As the top team in the conference, third-ranked UC Santa Barbara comes to Davis with everything to lose while the underdog Aggies have nothing to lose.
Be prepared for an exciting and very physical game between these two rivals this afternoon at Aggie Soccer Stadium.
– John S. Heller