The Aggies entered their game against the Gauchos looking to snap a four game losing streak.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, its first Big West Conference match yielded more of the same.
The Aggies got off to a slow start and UC Santa Barbara took advantage early when Gaucho Michael Nonni scored in the 10th minute to give his team the lead.
“They were in a must-win at home,” said coach Dwayne Shaffer, “and they came out attacking. They scored a really nice goal. There wasn’t much we could do about it.”
It marked the fifth straight game that UC Davis had fallen behind in the first half.
The Aggies responded from that point, pressing forward on attack.
In the 33rd minute junior Lance Patterson put the ball in the net following a corner kick from freshman Nick Grigoriev.
“Patterson played well,” Shaffer said. “We earned a corner and he headed it over everyone into the far side of the net. It was a really nice goal for him.”
The goal was Patterson’s fifth of the year, most on the team.
The game remained scoreless for the rest of the first half and the teams entered the second period tied one.
In the second half, the Aggies found themselves on the defensive.
“Tied at one with UC Davis wasn’t a very good score for them at home,” Shaffer said. “They came out in the second half attacking. Our strategy was to keep them in front of us and counter attack.”
UC Santa Barbara peppered the goal with eight shots.
Still, the UC Davis defense held strong and the Aggies were able to take the game into overtime.
“Our entire team defense was outstanding,” Shaffer said. “Besides giving up the goal everything went perfectly. Chris Beville played great and Rene Cuellar played the best game in his career as an Aggie.”
The defense could not hold for the entire overtime, however.
The Gauchos took the ball early in the second extra period and midfielder Peter McGlynn put it in the net to give UC Santa Barbara the 2-1 victory.
It was a tough break for the Aggies.
“He scored a great goal,” Shaffer said. “We played it really well, but sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”
The Aggies were out shot 10-1 in the second half and overtime, but they believe that this statistic is misleading.
“We were playing a defensive strategy,” Shaffer said. “We had some chances, we just didn’t get that final touch on the ball.”
The game brought UC Davis’ road record to 0-6 and it marked their fifth road loss by a single goal.
Despite not getting the result, Shaffer isn’t unhappy with the way his team performed.
“I’m proud of the way we played,” he said. “They’re a team groomed to win a national championship. I walked away saying we’re not too far from being a very good team.”
The Aggies will return home for their next game, which will pit them against Big West rival No. 12 UC Irvine.
UC Davis has won both of their home games this season.
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.