Teams: UC Davis at UC Irvine; vs. Cal Poly
Records: Aggies 5-6-2(3-2-0); Anteaters 12-3-0(4-1-0); Mustangs 6-5-2(3-2-0)
Where: Anteater Stadium, Irvine – Calif.; Aggie Soccer Field
When: Today at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m.
Who to watch: “Our depth has been a weapon for us this year,” said Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer. Junior Dan Reese has only started two games this season, but comes off the bench blazing, ready to wear down opposing defenses.
Of late, Reese has emerged as an offensive force and has earned more playing time. He also has six shots on the year and also tallied the assist to one of freshman Matt Sheldon’s two goals against Cal State Northridge.
Did you know? Just as cows are synonymous with UC Davis, Lance Patterson is with Aggie soccer.
Last year, Patterson filled in at forward and led the team in goals, but this year the senior from Colorado completes the solid defense that Shaffer has lauded throughout the season.
Until Patterson was taken out in the 82nd minute of Saturday’s game against the Matadors, he had played every second of every game this season. That totals to 1,248 straight minutes on the field.
As strong as the UC Davis defense is all around, Patterson is essentially irreplaceable. He was put in again in the overtime period against CSU Northridge, for the final three minutes of the game.
Preview: Hold your breath Aggie fans, the UC Davis men’s soccer team is in a three-way tie for second place in the Big West Conference. In first place stands UC Irvine, who also holds a number seven national ranking.
With the goal of going to battle for the Big West title, the Aggies must finish in the top four of the league to make it to the conference tournament. With five regular season games remaining – all against Big West teams – this is far from an easy task.
This week’s games against UC Irvine and Cal Poly will be the first step to the Aggies’ push to finish the season strong.
This is the only regular season matchup UC Davis has with the Anteaters but it will not be the first time they enter the game as the underdog.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to play a highly-ranked team,” Shaffer said. It’s going to be a big challenge for us to go to their place and get a result.”
On Saturday UC Davis will host Cal Poly, a team the Aggies edged with a 1-0 victory at the Mustang’s home field.
The Anteaters hold a 4-1 league record, with their one loss at the hands (or feet) of Cal Poly on Sept. 28. Shaffer knows his team will not underestimate either opponent, nor will they count themselves out.
“Anything can happen if we go down there and we’re in a mentally and physically good spot,” he said. “On any given day, if we play well we can beat anyone.”
– Matthew Yuen