You can tell a lot about a team by the way they respond to a loss.
The Aggies did not get the start they were hoping for this season, but the way they bounced back showed true heart.
Friday – CSU Bakersfield 3, UC Davis 1
UC Davis was on the attack early on the road.
The Aggies began the game with shots from Randy Cuellar and Michael Garrick in the first 10 minutes.
But the Aggies’ fortunes changed on a dime.
UC Davis conceded an own-goal on a missed clearance in the 12th minute, swinging the momentum in the favor of the Roadrunners.
“We started fast,” said coach Dwayne Shaffer. “We had the first few chances of the game, but our own-goal gave them a lot of confidence and it took the wind out of our sails.”
The Aggies entered halftime down 1-0.
In the second half UC Davis was forced to come out more aggressively in an attempt to catch up.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, their offensive focus left them a little weak on the defensive end, and Bakersfield midfielder Jesus Sanchez scored in the 63rd minute on a counter-attack.
The Roadrunners added another goal on a shot from Keeyan Ghazanfarpour in the 85th minute to make the score 3-0.
UC Davis got on the score sheet in the 86th minute when junior Lance Patterson scored on a shot from 20 yards out.
That was all the scoring the Aggies could muster, however, and the game ended in defeat for UC Davis.
“It was tough,” Shaffer said. “You never want to start the season with a loss.”
Sunday – UC Davis 1, San Jose State 0 – (OT)
UC Davis started the second game of the weekend on the attacking side as well.
The Aggies had a plethora of scoring opportunities early on, posting eight shots in the first half compared to just one by the Spartans.
UC Davis was unable to place the ball in the net, however, and the game went to halftime tied 0-0.
In the second half the Aggies picked up just where they’d left off.
Less than one minute into the period UC Davis freshman Alex Henry nearly scored on a shot from outside the box, but the ball bounced off the crossbar out of play.
Sophomore Dan Reese just missed scoring in the 70th minute when his header went just over the crossbar, and again in the 75th minute when he missed wide left on a shot from the outskirts of the box.
Despite their many opportunities, the Aggies were unable to score in regulation, and the game went into sudden-death overtime with the score tied 0-0.
UC Davis could not put the ball in the net on 19 shots in regulation, but it took just one in overtime to finish the game.
Aggie sophomore John Joslin made a perfect pass forward to Lance Patterson, and Patterson knocked it past the keeper to score in his second straight game and give UC Davis a victory over the Spartans.
“I saw their defense was up high,” said Patterson. “I made a run and I got a great through ball from Joslin. I made sure I got it on frame and fortunately it went in the net.”
UC Davis goalkeeper Tommy Siragusa kept a clean sheet for the Aggies after coming off the bench to replace starter Ryan McCowan in the third minute.
“It was nice to contribute tonight,” said Siragusa. “My defense deserves a lot of credit and I’m proud of the way we played.”
The Aggies knew this was a very important win for them so early in the season, and they believe they will be able to keep this momentum going forward.
“This was a much needed win for us and it feels awesome,” Shaffer said. “It puts us back on the winning track. I think we’re going to be a dangerous team this year.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at email@example.com.