Going into the final two games of the season, the 2011 UC Davis men’s soccer program had the unique opportunity to go down in history for two different achievements.
The Aggies had the chance to seize its first ever number one seed in the Big West Conference as well as tie the NCAA record for most overtime games in one season.
UC Davis did make the record books, but probably not in the category it would have hoped.
With two ties in the final two games, the Aggies finished with 11 overtime games this season. UC Davis becomes the third team to get to this mark, following St. Louis University, who first set this record in 2003, and San Diego State, who tied it in 2009.
The ties against Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside gained the Aggies two points in the Big West Conference standings, but it was not enough to secure UC Davis a first round home contest in the Big West tournament as it ended the regular season in third place, behind UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara.
Wednesday — UC Davis 1, Cal State Fullerton 1 (2OT)
UC Davis hosted the Titans on Senior Day, where Lance Patterson, Rene Cuellar and Matt Provencher were all recognized in their last season game at Aggie Soccer field.
Yet, once the game started, all sentimental feelings were lost, as things quickly got intense. The teams battled back and forth until junior Dan Reese scored in the 70th minute.
But the equalizer came not three minutes later, when CSU Fullerton came right back and scored, to knot the game at 1-1.
The stunned Aggies created many more opportunities to pull out a victory but never converted. Through both overtime periods, the game remained at 1-1. The tie sealed the Aggies’ place in the conference postseason tournament.
Saturday — UC Davis 1, UC Riverside 1 (2OT)
This season UC Davis has been the team to fall behind and make late game comebacks, but for the final two matchups of the season, the Aggies played the opposite role.
UC Davis pulled ahead in the 60th minute when junior John Joslin knocked in a shot on a give and go with freshman Matt Wiesenfarth.
Up 1-0, the Aggies simply had to hang on for the remainder of the game in order to cruise to a first place finish in the Big West standings, and the entitlement to home field advantage in any postseason conference game.
Yet, with less than four minutes remaining in the game, Joslin’s first goal of the season was spoiled. The Highlanders found the goal in what resembled the Aggies’ usual late game magic, forcing UC Davis to put the celebrations on hold.
It seemed the game was in the Aggies’ hands, as they controlled the ball for the better part of the game despite the lapse in the 86th minute. But the goal that would seal the deal on a final UC Davis victory never came.
The game remained tied through the duration of the two overtime periods to solidify the Aggies’ third place seeding in the Big West conference ahead of UC Riverside.
“I wouldn’t call it a disappointment, but a better word would be frustrated,” said Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer. “We were three minutes away, and it would have been a great achievement for our team and our school.”
The tie did not change the Big West standings, and UC Davis ended the season with 17 points and a 5-3-2 league record.
“We played well throughout the entire game and we deserved to win it,” Shaffer said. “I wanted the guys to win the Big West regular season championship, but we will just have to try again in the tournament.”
UC Davis will now travel to face UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday in the first round of the Big West tournament.
MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.