UC Davis men’s soccer (3-4-4 and 1-1 in conference play) opened their run in the Big West Conference with a shaky start against Cal State Northridge, but immediately bounced back against UC Irvine.
Junior Alex Aguiar led the UC Davis offense with four shots while junior Omar Zeenni made five saves, but CSU Northridge scored twice in the opening 15 minutes and held on for a 2-0 win on Friday at Matador Soccer Field in Northridge, Calif.
The first half featured four of Zeenni’s five saves, but the Matadors struck early, scoring in the sixth minute of play. David Turcios, the CSU Northridge forward, drove into the box and fired a shot, which Zeenni deflected, but Turcios collected the rebound and put it away into the lower left corner.
Later in the half, junior Alex Henry’s corner kick found junior Pat Reese but Reese’s header in the middle of the box was blocked out for a second Aggie corner kick. Freshman Eric Budniewski took the corner, but it was cleared out by the CSU Northridge defense.
Despite the setback, the Aggie defense held strong, allowing just three second-half shots, preventing the Matadors from scoring again.
The Aggies faced UC Irvine on Sunday and put them away 3-1. Aguiar and Reese scored goals in the first half to put the game out of reach, snapping the team’s three-game losing streak.
Reese then scored his second goal of the year in the 28th minute with an impressive show of offense. His first shot was deflected by UC Irvine goalkeeper Michael Breslin, but Reese collected his own rebound and shot past Breslin to give UC Davis a 2-0 lead.
Junior Kevin Schulte also knocked in a goal two minutes into the second half to put the Aggies up by three.
With the 3-0 lead, the UC Davis defense held on, thanks to a strong performance by Zeenni in the goal. Zeenni made two more saves in the closing minutes of the second half to help preserve the win.
Next, the Aggies will face Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara at Davis.
— Veena Bansal