UC Davis sat tied for third in the Big West Conference playoff race.
The Aggies had a difficult challenge ahead of them, however.
They controlled their own destiny, and matchups against Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly meant this week would have a huge impact on the Big West Conference standings.
The games didn’t go exactly to plan for UC Davis, but the team still remains in the playoff race.
Wednesday – Cal State Fullerton 2, UC Davis 1 (OT)
The Aggies match against the Titans was a battle for third place in the standings.
Like many UC Davis games this year, this one began as a defensive struggle.
UC Davis led in shots 4-3, but neither team was able to find the net and the game went to halftime tied at zero.
Cal State Fullerton was able to break through in the second period as it found scored in the 58th minute. UC Davis quickly responded, however.
In the 69th minute freshman Alex Aguiar took a pass from Dan Reese and scored from 25 yards out.
“It was the most incredible goal we’ve scored this year,” said coach Dwayne Shaffer. “He scored a goal out of nothing. He just took the ball and curled it over the keeper into the top corner.”
For Aguiar, the timing was everything.
“It meant a lot to score at that point,” he said. “It kept us in a game we needed to win.”
Regulation ended with the score tied at one, and the Aggies entered their sixth overtime game of the year.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, Titan Nick Posthuma ended the game with a goal in the 97th minute, sending the Aggies home with a loss.
It was not the ending UC Davis had hoped for.
“It was disappointing,” Shaffer said. “Everyone in this conference is good and today was Fullerton’s day.”
Saturday – UC Davis 4, Cal Poly 2
With the loss to the Titans, the Aggies needed to win the rest of their games in order to have any hope for a playoff berth.
UC Davis got things started on the right foot.
In the 30th minute, defender Ethan Shawlee took a corner from Kevin Schulte and headed it into the net to give the Aggies an early advantage.
UC Davis caught a break just before the second half whistle, when Cal Poly’s Evan Richter was given a red card for a dangerous challenge and the Mustangs were cut to 10 men.
Despite their disadvantage in numbers, Cal Poly started fast in the second period.
The Mustangs scored in the 47th minute to tie the match, and then took the lead on a second goal in the 58th minute.
The momentum turned, however, when UC Davis’ Lance Patterson scored on a pass from Schulte in the 68th minute to tie the game.
Less than two minutes later the Aggies took the lead when another Schulte pass made its way to John Joslin, whose shot took a deflection on the way into the net.
“I just got the ball about six yards out and fired,” Joslin said, “It took a lucky deflection and went in. It was a goal we really wanted for our seniors in their final home game.”
Senior Chris Beville knew all along the Aggies could retake the lead.
“This game was an emotional rollercoaster,” he said, “but I knew we would come back and take the lead.”
The UC Davis defense held strong for the remainder of the game, and the Aggies secured a 4-2 victory when Schulte passed up a shot in order to find Dan Reese for an easy goal.
That play gave Schulte the UC Davis record for assists in a game with four.
“Honestly, I think I got lucky on the first three,” Schulte said. “On the fourth one I just didn’t want to be selfish, so I passed to ball to Dan [Reese] and he knocked it home.”
With the win, UC Davis remains in the playoff race, but the Aggies will need help to make the Big West Conference Tournament.
UC Davis’ final game of the season is Wednesday when they face UC Riverside on the road.
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at email@example.com.