Well, the comparisons between UC Davis men’s soccer and the San Francisco Giants persist.
UC Davis closed out the regular season with a strong performance against Sacramento State this past weekend, sweeping the season series with the Hornets with a second victory over the Causeway rivals.
While this is extremely exciting, it is by no means unexpected. UC Davis has been showing signs of brilliance since early last year.
The Aggies have pulled in three huge recruiting classes to stack up their roster.
Out of their roster of almost 30 players, UC Davis has graduated less than five players in each of the past two years. The Aggies are stacked to do great things in the years to come.
Although nobody really wants to hear me talk, I can talk for a very long time about why our men’s soccer team’s future is bright. Or perhaps that’s because I have no one to talk to. Either way, here goes.
UC Davis is 7-2 in the past nine games after a disappointing 2-4-4 start including a three-game losing streak right before the Aggies got hot. This is no accident.
First let’s start with the defense. The defense is like the different levels of protection for the Sorcerer’s Stone. Even if you get past one of the tasks, how much of a chance do you really have next time? Though hopefully, the Aggies, unlike some of the best wizards at Hogwarts, are capable of keeping three 10-year-olds from getting through.
In the goal, there’s junior Omar Zeenni. Since he was a freshman, Zeenni has spent substantial time eating up minutes in the goal.
He has gotten used to the defense around him and is incredibly bright, both of which factor into his ability to command the back line into the impenetrable barricade that it is.
The backline consists of, for a majority of the game, a combination of sophomores Brian Ford and Ramon Martin Del Campo as well as one other player. Ford and Martin Del Campo are absolute monsters. Honestly, together, they could top Sulley for the scare record.
Ford has led the defense since he arrived at UC Davis, playing the most out of any player, including Zeenni. The reason being he has incredible judgment and perception.
Getting past Ford to even get to Zeenni should be considered a goal in itself. Rarely will you see him out of position being beat by an offensive charge. Martin Del Campo is in for the intimidation factor. Checking in as one of the bigger players on the field, Martin Del Campo’s size and athleticism make for a tough compliment to Ford’s defensive prowess.
There isn’t quite a special mechanism that is the secret formula for the Aggies, but it seems they have many options on the forefront.
UC Davis has scored goals from 11 players this year, seven of which have multiple goals. The Aggies had trouble scoring last year, with then-freshman Matt Wiesenfarth providing most of the firepower with five goals on the year.
This year, though Wiesenfarth just scored his first two goals of the season, many of his teammates have found the back of the net, including juniors Kevin Schulte, Pat Reese and Alex Aguiar.
Any combination can work — from Wiesenfarth’s fancy footwork or Alex Henry’s southpaw boot — and UC Davis finally seems to be piecing it together.
One of the secret weapons the Aggies have is freshman Ryan Gross. It is not often that people are feared for their throwing ability in the game called “football” across the world.
But Gross’ throw-ins are essentially corner kicks, seeing that he can throw the ball from the sideline into the goal box from almost anywhere on the same half of the field. So the defense really has to be careful to think twice before it knocks the ball out of bounds. There really is no escape.
In the end, all the strengths of the Aggies’ individual positions culminate to a unit with about the same amount of force as Brian Wilson’s beard, which has a life of its own.
There is no telling how far UC Davis can go, since they appear to be getting hot at just the right time.
Lucky for UC Davis, we will have the chance to witness the next step in UC Davis men’s soccer development, as they have earned, with the top seed in the conference, the chance to host a Big West tournament game.
Most likely, this will be against Cal State Fullerton, a team the Aggies took down on their path to this first-place finish. Though there are no certainties, UC Davis is definitely on a path where every turn’s a surprise, with new horizons to pursue.MATTHEW YUEN may have written his first real column. Though he can’t be certain because he doesn’t know what a real column is. Critique at firstname.lastname@example.org.