Teams: UC Davis at Cal State Northridge
Records: Aggies 4-6-2(2-2-0); Matadors 5-5-1(2-1-0)
Where: Matador Soccer Field – Northridge, Calif.
When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer has been boasting about the ability of the team’s defense to shut down strong opponent offenses. Freshman Brian Ford is one factor that has bolstered the Aggies’ wall-like back line.
The freshman from Newport Beach, Calif. has started every game and has played almost every minute the Aggies have been on the field.
During last week’s match against Cal Poly, Ford tallied an assist on freshman Matt Wiesenfarth’s goal that propelled the Aggies the victory. He has also recorded three shots so far this year.
Did you know? The Matador’s soccer facility was built back in 2002 with stadium lights, which they seem to enjoy playing under.
Thirteen of their 14 scheduled home games have this season have 7 p.m. kickoff times. Saturday’s contest with the Aggies is no exception.
The lights don’t seem to be doing much to help Cal State Northridge, however. The Matadors have a 3-3 home record this season, and their only day game resulted in a victory. Last season, the Matadors held a 1-9-1 home record, with their sole victory coming in their only 11 a.m. game.
Preview: With an extremely tough schedule looming for the remainder of the season, the game against CSU Northridge is almost a must-win situation for UC Davis if it plans to finish among the top four teams in the Big West Conference and make an appearance in the conference tournament.
The Aggies hold a 2-2 league record and are right in the middle of the Big West standings. They hosted the Matadors at home back on Sept. 28, a game they dropped by a 3-0 count.
The Aggies also lost their most recent game to UC Santa Barbara in overtime.
Yet, don’t let this be the basis by which you cast your bets. UC Davis has played each game close, seeing that the game against Northridge was the only game this season decided by more than a single goal.
Further, two of the three Northridge goals were on penalty kicks – an anomaly unlikely to happen again.
Still, the Aggies will have to tidy up their game and start strong if they want to come away victorious.
One factor on their side is that the squad got some much needed rest this week, as they did not play a mid-week match.
UC Davis has played 85 minutes of overtime this season, which has taken a toll on the team. Wiesenfarth, who has four goals in the past five games, left last Saturday’s game against UCSB due to heat exhaustion.
“The good thing going into the Northridge game is we get a bye and hopefully some fresh legs,” Shaffer said.
– Matthew Yuen