The Aggies have had a difficult start to the year.
“It’s been a rough season so far,” said coach Dwayne Shaffer. “We’ve played well in stretches, but we haven’t put everything together.”
Things didn’t get any better for UC Davis on their most recent road trip to Washington.
Friday – No. 24 Portland 2, UC Davis 1 (OT)
The Aggies faced a difficult task in their first game in Seattle, Wash.
UC Davis was pitted against a solid Portland team and the Pilots started hot right out of the gate.
Portland took the early lead on a shot by Steven Evens that made it past diving keeper Ryan McGowan.
The Aggies leveled the game a few minutes before halftime, when two of their younger players linked up to score.
Freshman Alex Aguilar took a pass from fellow first-year student Kevin Schulte and pushed the ball to the left of the keeper and into the net.
The Aggies’ have counted on contributions like this from their freshmen all season.
“Our freshmen have played really well,” Shaffer said. “We’ve had great contributions from several of them.”
Despite the play from the young guns, UC Davis was unable to score for the rest of regulation, and the game went into overtime tied at one.
It did not take long for the Pilots to strike in the extra period.
Portland’s Jaren VanShaik put the ball into the right side of the net less than two minutes into overtime to hand the Aggies a 2-1 loss.
UC Davis finished the game with 11 shots on goal, six of which came from junior Lance Patterson.
Sunday – Washington 1, UC Davis 0
UC Davis tried to turn things around against the Huskies, but once again the Aggies fell behind early.
Washington scored in the 23rd minute when Husky Zach Portillos found himself wide open in front of the net and chipped the ball over McGowan.
UC Davis found itself chasing yet another game.
“We continued to put ourselves in a hole early,” Shaffer said. “When you go down 1-0 tactically everything changes. The game gets a little more hectic and you have to fight to get out of it.”
The Aggies had just one shot on goal in the entire game and were unable find the net.
In the end, UC Davis was stuck with another close loss.
The defeat put the Aggies at the record of 2-6-0 overall and 0-6-0 on the road.
“We’ve got a great supporting crowd,” Shaffer said, “and it’s a lot easier playing at home, but we’ve got a veteran team. There’s no excuse to not win just because we’re on the road.”
UC Davis knows they will need to improve to be successful this season.
“We’re not playing at the quality you need to win in Division I soccer,” Shaffer said. “To be honest nobody expected to be where we are right now record wise. We flat out need to be better.”
Things won’t get any easier for the Aggies in their next game. UC Davis will open Big West Conference play on the road against defending regular season champion UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.