UC Davis men’s soccer defeated the UC Irvine Anteaters 2-0 in their first game of conference play
The sun was out and shining last Thursday, Sept. 28, when the UC Davis men’s soccer team took on the UC Irvine Anteaters in its first conference game of the 2017 season.Coming out of last season, the Aggies went 8-9-3 overall and 4-6 in conference play, making it to the Big West Conference Tournament, where they took a hard fought loss in the first game to Cal State Fullerton in penalty kicks. The team is looking to improve on their efforts this season.
“The biggest thing we have been training and working on is our defense,” said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. “The second thing would probably be getting more of our players back and healthy to add more depth for our games.”
The Aggies went into the game possessing a 3-5-1 record overall on the year, and were looking to add a win to that record.
The first half belonged to the Aggies. UC Davis took an impressive seven shots in the half, three being on goal, while its defense limited the Anteaters to just two shots in the entire half, one of those being on goal. Out of the seven shots taken by the Aggies, two were taken by senior forwards Kyle Higgins and Noah Wilson, and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley had one save in the first half of play. However, none of the shots by either team were enough to put a goal on the board, bringing the score to 0-0 at the half.
UC Davis did not slow down the energy going into the second half, as junior midfielder Justin Wright made an incredible run in the 18-yard box, putting the ball in the back of the net and giving the Aggies the 1-0 lead at the 46th minute. Redshirt sophomore forward Adam Mickelson earned an equally impressive, no look assist on the goal. At the 59th minute of play, UC Irvine nearly equalized with a short cross into the box — the only thing stopping them was an incredible save from Lapsley. The Aggies were not done scoring goals, and in the 74th minute of play, Mickelson put one in the back of the net on a header assisted by senior midfielder Miguel Acevedo, bringing the score to 2-0.
“I just heard him come over my shoulder and call for the ball, so I played it to him and he was there with a great touch,” Mickelson said. “I think we [the team] need to continue with our defense and continue to get shutouts.”
The Aggies’ lead proved to be too much for UC Irvine, and UC Davis took home the 2-0 win. Overall, the Aggies produced 13 shots, half of them on goal, and limited the Anteaters to only 8 shots in the entire game. Lapsley had four saves in the game.
“It’s [soccer] a tough game to win, so anytime we get a win it’s huge,” Shaffer said. “I am extremely happy and pleased with my team, and I think I have a really good team. It was a good game for us to get a victory, and that is our first shutout of the year so that was awesome to get that result.”
The Saturday following the double header UC Davis took on California State Northridge and went into double overtime. However, the extra time was not enough for either team to secure a victory, leaving the game a tie and pushing UC Davis’ overall record to 4-5-2, going 1-0-1 in conference play.
Written by: Ryan Bugsch — firstname.lastname@example.org