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Davis

Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Men’s soccer preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. UC Santa Barbara

Records: Aggies, 6-6-1 (2-2-0); Gauchos 9-4-0 (4-0-0)

Where: Aggie Soccer Field — Davis, Calif.

When: Saturday, Oct. 19 at 3 p.m.

Who to Watch:

Although the weekend started off rough with a loss against Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 11, the Aggies ended the weekend on a high note with a big win against UC Riverside on Oct. 13.

Coming into the weekend matchup, both UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton held 1-1 records in league play. Although the Aggies didn’t get the results they were hoping for, they still held their own. While the Titans scored the only goal of the game within the first five minutes of play, the Aggies still had a lot of confidence heading into their second weekend game on Sunday, Oct. 13 against UC Riverside.

Not everything about their loss against Cal State Fullerton was negative. Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni continued his dominance in goal, making three saves against the Titans. Those three saves allowed Zeenni to set a new school record, placing him at the top of overall career saves for UC Davis goalies. With 197 saves in his Aggie career, Zeenni broke a 10-year-long record held by alumnus Nic Platter.

After their initial loss, UC Davis bounced back with a huge 2-0 victory against UC Riverside putting them back at .500 in the Big West conference.

Junior forward Matt Wiesenfarth recorded his third goal of the season, giving him the best shot percentage on the team. His goal came in the 14th minute of the game. Coach Dwayne Shaffer had high praise for his junior forward.

“He’s training really hard at practice and is doing all the right things,” coach Shaffer said. “When you get hot, things start to go your way.”

Continuing his solid season alongside Weisenfarth is junior forward Matt Sheldon. In the afternoon matchup versus the Highlanders, Sheldon kept his hot streak alive, scoring an insurance goal to help guarantee the Aggies a win.

With his goal against the Highlanders, Sheldon is the team’s leading scorer with four goals this season.

A final standout player from the match against the Gauchos was redshirt freshman Armando Quezada. Quezada started his first game in goal, and made five saves on the day.  This marked Quezada first collegiate start and first shutout victory.

“In his first collegiate game, he stepped up and played really well,” coach Shaffer said. “Armando proved today that he is a quality goalkeeper.”

Coach Shaffer was pleased with the performance which the Aggies put up in the weekend series.

“I thought we played really well and were excellent in every area of the game — offense, defense and on set piece situations,” coach Shaffer said. “The team played outstanding today.”

Preview:

The men are back at home to take on the always tough UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.  This game marks the halfway point in league play for the Aggies. A win at home would set them up to finish their season strong.

The Gauchos currently hold an overall record of 9-4. Even more impressive is their undefeated record in conference play at 4-0. With wins versus Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside, Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, UCSB is not a team not to take lightly.

The Aggies will need to be firing on all cylinders if they want to break above .500 this season and establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Big West. However, the men feel good about their chances.

“We are feeling very confident going into the game on Saturday,” said senior Alex Aguiar. “We know that we can beat any team in the nation at any time.”

– Sloan Boettcher

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