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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UC Davis Men’s Soccer Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. UC Irvine; vs. Cal State Northridge

Records: Aggies, 4-4-1 (0-0); Anteaters, 5-2-2 (0-0); Matadors, 8-1-0 (0-0)

Where: Aggie Soccer Field — Davis, Calif.

When: Friday, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m.;  Sunday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m.

Who to Watch:

Although the season and school year have only just begun, several players have already established themselves as threats on the pitch. Leading the team in goals, junior forward Matt Sheldon has scored three goals in the first 10 games of the season, two of which have been game-winners. Sheldon’s three goals is half of the Aggies’ six goals this season.

Another stand out player is senior captain and midfielder Alex Aguiar, who has racked up 23 shots on goal, the highest number of shots by any Aggie so far this season. It also places him third in the Big West.  Hopes are that his continued attacks on goal will eventually begin to land in the back of the net.

“Staying focused and continuing to have the confidence to take shots on goal are key,” Aguiar said.

The upcoming games against the Anteaters and Matadors will be an excellent opportunity for Aguiar to capitalize on his propensity to shoot.

Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni has been a rock in the defense this season. A seasoned veteran, he ranks No. 9 all-time in the Big West, with a 1.00 career goals against average. Currently this season Zeenni has 27 saves, and a goals against average of 0.87. He will need to come up big against the tough opponents this weekend.


The excitement of another school year can only be increased by one thing: the start of fall sports for the UC Davis community. The cool breezes of fall and changing leaves can only indicate one thing for the players on the UC Davis men’s soccer team: a whole new opportunity to dominate out on the pitch.

After ending the 2012 season with a solid 10-7-4 record and 7-3-0 in conference play, the Aggies hope to improve on an already strong 2012 season. Unlike many students who have only recently returned to Davis, the men’s soccer team already have 10 games under their belt.

The Aggies started off slow, with their opening game against Chico State on Aug. 25 ending in a tie and the next two away games versus Portland and Oregon State ending in losses.

“We’ve been in some tough battles this season, been on the wrong end of some of these results,” said coach Dwayne Shaffer. “I kept telling the guys to continue working hard because things will eventually turn our way.”

As the team begins to pick up steam this season, Coach Shaffer’s confidence in the Aggies’ abilities is beginning to be warranted. With wins against Seattle University, Saint Mary’s, University of San Francisco and most recently a huge 2-1 victory over No. 19 ranked New Mexico, the Aggies hold a respectable record of 4-4-1.

A sweep of this weekend’s opponents would not only establish a winning streak but give UC Davis a 2-0 record in conference play, placing the Aggies at the top of the Big West Conference.  However, sweeping this weekend’s opponents will not be an easy feat.

“We play an extremely difficult schedule in one of the highest-rated conferences in the country,” coach Shaffer said. “It’s not going to get any easier for us when we return home, hopefully our non-conference schedule has prepared us for another Big West run.”

Not only is coach Shaffer confident in the team’s abilities but the players are up for the challenging schedule they face this fall as well. Senior midfielder Alex Henry feels good about where the team is at so far this season.

“Confidence levels are pretty high, especially coming off the win against Mexico,” Henry said. “The back line has been strong and we’re starting to get our offense going.”

Henry went on to emphasize what the team will need to do this weekend to get two wins over Irvine and Northridge.

“Playing well together as a team; sticking to both sides of the ball; staying focused and sticking to our game plan,” Henry said. “If we do those things I think we’ll come off the weekend with a couple victories.”

– Sloan Boettcher


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