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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Men’s soccer unbeaten but winless in past four games

The UC Davis men’s soccer team has had a fantastic stretch away from home, coming away with four tied games against Cal State Bakersfield, Air Force, Denver and San Francisco.  The Aggies, who have continually displayed remarkable athleticism on both sides of the field, hold a record of 1-0-4.

Last Monday, the men’s soccer team tied CSU Bakersfield 0-0 in double overtime. Five different Aggies posted two shots apiece, but just two of UC Davis’ 11 shots were on frame. CSU Bakersfield was led by Gyasi Zardes’ six attempts while Lucas Dall’Orso took five shots.

The Aggies’ first attempt of the game came at the 19:30 mark when a corner kick from junior Kevin Schulte found freshman Ryan Gross, whose shot was blocked. In the second half, UC Davis suddenly found itself with an advantage after a Roadrunner was ejected with 25:10 left to play in the period.

Despite an extra man on the field, however, the Aggies could not find the back of the net.

The teams headed into the first overtime period scoreless. UC Davis put up another three shots in the second overtime period, but the game ended in a scoreless draw.

The Aggies shut out Air Force in Colorado Springs 0-0 in double overtime once again. Omar Zeenni recorded five saves and UC Davis warded off 11 second-half shots, and 17 total, from the Falcons.

“Once again, our team defense was outstanding,” said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. “It was Air Force’s home opener at 7,000-feet elevation and I thought my team was outstanding. We played hard and we gave Air Force everything they could handle.”

The Aggie defense turned up the intensity in the second half, blocking attempts from the Falcons within the first 10 minutes of the half. The teams closed the second half scoreless before UC Davis held off three shots from Air Force in the first overtime period. Kevin Schulte registered the Aggies’ lone shot in the second overtime, but sent his attempt over the crossbar and out of play.

Next, the men’s soccer team faced Denver and remained unbeaten with a 1-1 draw. Junior Pat Reese scored his first career goal, putting away the equalizer in the 74th minute, while junior Omar Zeenni recorded six saves.

Denver narrowly outshot UC Davis by a 7-5 margin in the first half, but UC Davis commanded the second half. However, the Pioneers struck first when they capitalized on a corner kick opportunity.

Reese and the Aggies responded, tying the game in the 74th minute. Gross received the ball on the right side of the field, sent a cross into the box and found Reese waiting. Reese flicked the ball across his body and found the inside of the left post to tie the game at 1-1.

“To respond right away was really good,” Shaffer said. “It was a really nice goal. Up until that point, we’d had three or four close misses and we were playing really well. It was a hard-earned, well-deserved goal and at that point we picked it up a bit and had some great opportunities. I’m really happy with the team’s attitude and their fighting spirit.”

The Aggies ended their road trip with a tie 2-2 in double overtime. Schulte scored his first goal of the season to give the UC Davis men’s soccer team a lead in the first half and, after two unanswered goals by the University of San Francisco, sophomore Ramon Martin del Campo put away the equalizer in the 86th minute.

Despite just five shots from USF and two shots from UC Davis, the teams combined for three goals as the Dons took a 2-1 lead into halftime. It was Schulte, however, who gave the Aggies the early advantage, scoring off an assist from Matt Sheldon. Just three minutes later, however, USF knotted it up at one goal apiece.

The Dons then took a 2-1 lead, scoring in the exact same fashion.

Sophomore Brian Ford collected the ball from a corner kick and sent a low, hard ball across the face of the goal. Martin Del Campo ran to it and one-touched it into the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2.

“It was our game until that point,” Shaffer said. “We played really good soccer and had scored a nice goal. USF got better mentally after that and we just kept fighting through it.”

The UC Davis men’s soccer team will face UCF in Davis on Monday and then head to Dallas, Tex. where they will compete against Tulsa and SMU.

“I’m excited for this season,” Ford said. “For this upcoming game, we’ll be focusing on our defense, once again. When our defense is strong, it allows our offense to make a move as well.”

VEENA BANSAL can be reached at sports@theaggie.org. 


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