An early goal in both of the games this week at Aggie Soccer Field was all it took for the winning team to gain momentum and keep the lead. Unfortunately for the Aggies, UC Davis only scored one of those.
UC Davis men’s soccer began Big West Conference competition by dropping a 3-0 decision to Cal State Northridge. They followed that with a 1-0 victory over UC Riverside to end the week with a 3-5-2 record overall, 1-1 in conference.
Wednesday – Cal State Northridge 3, UC Davis 0
CSU Northridge scored a goal just four minutes into the game and UC Davis was unable to respond.
“It was in the middle of the day on a school day and it was hot,” head coach Dwayne Shaffer said. “The worst thing that could have happened was for them to score an early goal on us and that’s exactly what they did.”
The Matadors added two more goals on penalty kicks in the second half to put the Aggies away for good.
UC Davis took nine shots on goal, with only two of those coming in the first half, while Northridge managed 16 attempts on the UC Davis net.
Saturday- UC Davis 1, UC Riverside 0
The Aggies got back in the win column on Saturday, recording a 1-0 victory over a very dangerous UC Riverside team.
The Highlanders were just coming off their Big West opener, where they had just upset 10th ranked UC Santa Barbara.
Freshman Matt Wiesenfarth found the net just 54 seconds into the match to give the Aggies the lead.
“Before this, we were on a losing streak and all those games we could have won,” Wiesenfarth said. “It’s good knowing we can compete with the best.”
Many times the Highlanders threatened to even the score, but key saves by sophomore goalkeeper Omar Zeenni helped the Aggies hold on to the 1-0 victory.
Overall Shaffer was pleased with his team’s effort.
“Our game plan was executed perfectly and the guys played as hard as I’ve seen them play,” Shaffer said. “It’s important the players know they’ve played well enough to win all of our games.”
Shaffer pointed out that the weather was nice and that there was a good-sized crowd, but knows this was a hard earned victory by the UC Davis team.
“We’ve worked hard to create our own breaks and we did to Riverside what Northridge did to us, which is score an early goal,” Shaffer said.
Wiesenfarth’s goal set the tone for the game and the Aggies never looked back. They hope to carry the momentum of this victory over throughout the regular season conference play.
“When you’re up 1-0 you’re a much better team, but if you’re down 1-0 you sometimes lose your game plan,” Shaffer said. “Riverside is a very good team, as is every team in the Big West, and we are proving we can beat these guys.”
The Aggies will return to action with two tough matches this week. UC Davis will start by traveling to face Cal Poly and then will return home for a match against No. 10 UCSB.
MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at email@example.com.