Teams: UC Davis vs. No. 12 UC Irvine; at Cal State Northridge
Records: Aggies, 2-7-0 (0-1-0); Anteaters, 8-1-1 (1-0-0); Matadors 2-6-2 (1-0-0)
Where: Aggie Stadium; Matador Soccer Field
When: Today at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: UC Davis has been looking for a second scoring threat to compliment the play of Lance Patterson. Freshman forward Nick Grigoriev might be poised to fill the role.
The San Diego, Calif. native has started six games this season and has taken seven shots, four of which have been on target.
Grigoriev has one score and one assist on the year.
Did you know? The Aggies will face a difficult task as they face No. 12 UC Irvine.
The Anteaters have finished first in the Big West Conference Tournament the past two years and they have outscored their opponents 25-3 this season.
Preview: The Aggies will be hoping to use their home-field advantage to slow down UC Irvine.
It will be UC Davis’ first game under the lights in Aggie Stadium and the Aggies are hoping for strong support from the crowd.
“We hope that anyone who is a UC Davis fan will come to support us,” said coach Dwayne Shaffer. “A good home crowd makes a world of difference for our team.”
Both UC Davis wins this season have come on their home field.
The Aggies can also be encouraged by the fact that UC Irvine has not been a dominating team when they have been forced to travel far from their home region.
The Anteaters are 2-1-1 and have conceded all three of their goals allowed in games played outside of Southern California.
In their only trip to Northern California, UC Irvine took their only loss of the season, a 2-0 defeat to Sacramento State.
“It shows the difficulty of playing on the road,” Shaffer said. “Hopefully them having to travel will make things better for us.”
Despite the match being at home, the Aggies are still going to be faced with a tremendous challenge against a team that has started the year on a hot streak.
“They’re high on confidence right now,” Shaffer said. “We know they’ll be disciplined and well organized. We’re expecting another very competitive game. Hopefully we’ll be prepared.”
The Aggies better show that preparation early in the game.
In each of their last five matches, UC Davis has fallen behind in the first half. For the Aggies to be successful that trend needs to end.
“The main key for us is to score the first goal of the game,” Shaffer said. “If we strike first we’ll be a very difficult team to beat. Second is to not allow them to score early on us. If we do those things we’ll be able to defend our home field.”
– Trevor Cramer