UC Davis Men’s soccer opened up Big West Conference play on Oct. 2 as they defeated the Cal State Fullerton Titans with a score of 3-1 to maintain their undefeated record.
After playing seven consecutive games that went into double overtime, the Aggies were able to win this game during regulation time. UC Davis scored a total of three goals, a season high, including a last second goal to finish off its opponent.
Senior defender Lucas Mohageg flicked the ball into the left post of the goal on the 16th minute of the first half on a throw-in by junior midfielder Ryan Gross. This was Mohageg’s third goal of the season.
True freshman forward Kyle Higgins scored his first career goal at the 60th minute. He shot from 30 yards out to the top right corner of the goal after beating two Titan defenders.
With a two-goal lead, the Aggies were called with a handball penalty in box at the 65th minute. Fullerton’s Ian Ramos scored and cut the Aggie lead to one goal.
However, UC Davis was able to score for a third time in the last minute of the match. True freshman midfielder Justin Kitts scored with just seconds left in regulation time off a long ball from Gross.
Still, the Aggies continued to rely heavily on their defense to lead them to victory.
“It’s got to be our defense, [senior defender Ramon Martin Del Campo] has got to be the best defender in the country, he’s been outstanding. And [Mohageg] has solidified our center defense,” head coach Dwayne Shaffer said after the game. “Our defense has kept us in the games…with an undefeated record.”
On Oct. 4, the Aggies beat a struggling UC Riverside Highlanders team and improved their undefeated record to 4-0-7 overall and 2-0 in Big West Conference play in a 1-0 win.
Sophomore defender Connor Willis-Hong scored his first goal of the season and the only goal of the match. Senior forward Matt Sheldon assisted the goal by crossing a corner kick from the right side of the goal all the way to the left side and Willis-Hong headed it to the back of the net.
“I wasn’t going to go in on the corner, but [sophomore forward Dashiell MacNamara] told me to just get in and he’d drop for me,” Willis-Hong said. “I was jostling in the box a bit and lost my man, the ball went over [Martin Del Campo] head and I just tried to put it on goal and it went in.”
UC Davis played aggressively throughout the games: they outshot the Highlanders and managed to hold them scoreless, led to victory by the defense. Junior goalkeeper Armando Quezada earned his first win this season and saved three shots from the Titans and four from the Highlanders. Quezada has been a major factor for the undefeated record. He credits Martin Del Campo and the defense for the team’s success.
Del Campo, who coach Shaffer referred to as “the best defender in the country,” leads the defense and is a huge instrument to the team’s success.
“Defensive shape, if they can’t score on us, we can’t lose, we’ve been doing well on that,” said Martin Del Campo after the game. “We’ve had difficulties scoring, but the thing about this team is that we really believe in each other….At moments where we miss it gets frustrating but we always find a way to believe that we are going to get the job done.”
Martin Del Campo has been scouted by various teams, including the San Jose Earthquakes and the U.S. National Team, throughout his career at UC Davis.
The Aggies travel to Southern California to face the UC Irvine Anteaters on Thursday and Cal State Northridge Matadors on Saturday.
The next home game for the Aggies is on Oct. 18 as they welcome the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.