Goal in final moments of OT gives Aggies hard-fought win.
Balls flew across the field and gave way to an electrifying 2-1 win in overtime to close the Aggies fourth conference game of the season. The strong showing by the UC Davis men’s soccer team ensured that they would avoid a repeat of their previous match’s 1-1 tie.
Redshirt senior forward Matt Weisenfarth put the first point on the board at the 15:51 mark by juking the UC Irvine goalkeeper and drilling the ball into the right side of the net. The quick lead in the first half gave the Aggies control for the majority of the game as they constantly pressured their opponents. Close attempts at the Anteater goal throughout the first period gave them the edge, and by the conclusion of the match UC Davis had outshot its opponents 18-13.
The Aggie offense was relentless and opened up a handful of good opportunities at the net that largely remained unconverted. Though UC Davis outshot UC Irvine, the Anteaters still peppered the Aggies’ goal with shots where it largely fell to the keeper to fend off unwanted balls.
“My gut was telling me to go with [redshirt junior goalkeeper] Armando [Quezada] today,” said Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer. “He played really well and he’s vocal, he’s energetic and he commands his defense around.”
Shaffer’s decision to play Quezada instead of redshirt senior Kris Schultz proved to be a worthwhile decision when, following a foul by UC Davis, an Anteater lined up for a penalty shot and a resigned crowd watched on. It was one versus one with the odds on the side of UC Irvine, but with a quick read and swift execution, Quezada was able to stop the ball in the 55th minute of the game, preventing a tie and sustaining the Aggies’ lead.
It didn’t look like the game was headed into overtime until late in the second half. The Anteaters powered the ball past Quezada with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation to tie the game at 1-1. Now with their feet held to the fire, UC Davis fought to break the tie before overtime. Only UC Irvine was able to get a credible shot off but it was halted by Quezada, where his seventh save of the night gave him a career-high. A handful of substitutions entered the match as the final minutes passed uneventfully, forcing a showdown in extra time.
As the clock ticked down in overtime, the game took on a frenetic pace as both sides scrambled to guide the ball into the net for the score that would end the game. By denying UC Irvine from getting any shots off and constantly pushing the offensive, UC Davis took control and was able to make two attempts at the goal. When senior midfielder Lucas Mohageg found the ball in front of him after a combined assist from sophomore midfielder Evan Barrett and freshman midfielder Justin Wright, he responded instinctively and directed it towards the net with only 2:42 left in OT, instantly giving the Aggies a 2-1 win.
“[The ball] kind of got messed around in the box and it just came right to me,” said Mohageg. “Didn’t even look, really, I just kind of tapped it into the far post. It was definitely right place at right time.”
The win against the UC Irvine Anteaters brings the Aggies’ Big West Conference record to 2-1-1 and 6-6-1 overall. UC Davis will play the third in a four-match homestand on Wednesday when they step onto the Aggie Soccer Field with Cal Poly.