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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Men’s Soccer Preview

Teams: UC Davis at Cal State Fullerton; at UC Riverside

Records: Aggies, 5-5-1 (1-1-0); Titans, 4-6-0 (1-1-0); Highlanders, 0-2-0 (5-4-2)

Where: Titan Stadium — Fullerton, Calif.; UC Riverside Soccer Stadium — Riverside, Calif.

When: Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 13 at 2 p.m.

A tough loss to sixth-ranked Cal State Northridge may have ended the weekend on a sour note for the UC Davis men’s soccer team, but the Aggies started the weekend series on a high note with a victory against another nationally ranked team, UC Irvine.

Redshirt freshman forward Dashiell MacNamara struck first, 28 minutes into the Oct. 4 afternoon matchup against the Anteaters. MacNamara’s first goal as an Aggie came at a crucial time.

“I knew Ryan Gross [could] make that long throw-in, he’s been making that pass all season and can get [the ball] in the penalty area,” MacNamara said. “Matt Sheldon cut in front of me and went in for the header, I just drifted behind him and flicked it in.”

The goal gave MacNamara his first goal of the season and earned sophomore midfielder Ryan Gross his first assist of the year with his on-point throw-in.

Later in the match the Aggies would strike again, with a goal coming from the foot of junior forward Matt Wiesenfarth in the last three minutes of the game. After breaking past defenders, Wisenfarth beat Anteater goalie Michael Breslin for a goal at the near post. The goal doubled the Aggies’ lead and guaranteed an upset victory for UC Davis.

Not to be ignored on the other end of the pitch, senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni also continued his dominance in the match against UC Irvine, earning his fourth clean sheet of the season, giving him a program-high 17 career clean sheets, tying him with alumni Nic Platter for the all-time record. Although Zeenni gave up two goals on the Oct. 6 match-up against the mighty Cal State Northridge, he still holds a solid 0.98 goals allowed per game average this season.

After a tough 0-2 defeat at the hands of Cal State Northridge in their Oct. 6 matchup, some might think that the Aggies have lost their mojo. However, with their 2-0 victory against the 25th-ranked UC Irvine on Oct. 4 and their 2-1 win over nationally-ranked New Mexico, the men still have plenty of confidence heading into this weekend’s games against Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 11 and UC Riverside on Oct. 13.

The Aggies will square off against the Titans under the lights in Fullerton, then travel to UC Riverside on Sunday. With the Titans holding a current overall record of 4-6, UC Davis should feel good about their chances of coming out of Fullerton with a win in their first away game of the weekend.

Having to play in such a high-pressure position, senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni maintains that level-headed persona on and off the pitch.

“I feel confident about our chances,” Zeenni said. “We definitely shouldn’t be worried about them.”

Going on to describe what the team needs to do to come out 2-0 this upcoming weekend, Zeenni stressed focusing on their game, and not worrying about the Titans or the Highlanders.

“If we just come out and play our game we’ll come out 2-0 this weekend,” Zeeni said. “Continuing to have trust in the system and exploiting their weaknesses will be key.”

The Aggies hope to continue their impressive play in this weekend’s matchup against Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. A good road trip would help UC Davis’ standings in the Big West.

– Sloan Boettcher


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