Team of the Quarter: Men’s soccer

NICHOLAS CHAN / AGGIE FILE (left), MEENA RUGH / AGGIE FILE (right)

UC Davis men’s soccer wins division title, nearly makes NCAA tournament

After enjoying one of the most successful seasons in program history, falling just one win shy of reaching the NCAA Division I tournament, the UC Davis men’s soccer team was an easy choice for The California Aggie’s Fall 2017 Team of the Quarter.

The team captured the Big West North Division crown in the regular season and advanced all the way to the finals of the conference tournament, finishing with a record of 11-7-3 and a 7-2-1 mark versus Big West opponents.

The Aggies received a number of awards and accolades throughout the campaign for their performances both on and off the pitch.

Redshirt junior defender Roy Boateng was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and head coach Dwayne Shaffer was honored as Coach of the Year. In addition, senior midfielder Onah Power, redshirt freshman Nabi Kibunguchy and Boateng were all selected for the All-Big West First Team.

Senior defender Chase Rhode and redshirt junior forward Matt Baringer were both selected for the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District First Team, an award that annually honors the finest student-athletes across the country.

One of the most memorable moments of the season was the team’s dramatic victory over CSU Northridge in the Big West tournament semifinals. After squandering a 2-0 first half lead, the Aggies battled back and scored a pair of goals in the final 22 seconds of regulation to steal the win. UC Davis overcame a grand total of six yellow cards and two red cards, most of them in the late, critical stages of the contest, to move on to the finals.

After a slow start to the season during non-conference play, the Aggies hit their stride during the back half of the year and finished strong with five wins in the final six games of the regular season.

“We had some unfortunate results early in the year, but we rebounded and we stayed strong,” Shaffer said. “We had an unbelievable run. They should be proud of themselves.”

The turnaround can largely be attributed to the vast amount of experience on this year’s roster, which included eight seniors.

“Midway through the season, the eight of us all made a decision that we were going to be at this spot at the end of the season and we fought towards that,” said senior forward Noah Wilson. “We focused on every minute and every half, playing our game, and then the results came.”

Redshirt sophomore forward Adam Mickelson was the team leader in points, finishing with a total of 15, as well as assists with seven. Wilson, one of only five players on the roster to start all 21 matches, had a knack for coming up clutch in the most important moments, tallying two game-winning goals on the season.

 

Honorable Mention: Women’s Volleyball

The UC Davis women’s volleyball team wrapped up the season with an overall record of 16-14, including an 8-8 mark against conference opponents and a fourth-place finish in the Big Sky conference.

The Aggies played their best ball of the season in the middle portion of the conference schedule, winning seven out of nine games from October through early November. The team also enjoyed a hot streak in a couple of the early-season tournaments, going undefeated in both the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas and the UC Davis Invitational at home.

UC Davis was led by freshman outside hitter Mahalia White, who finished the season with a team-high 398 kills. She was rewarded for her efforts by being honored as the Big Sky Freshman of the Year and selected for the All-Big Sky First Team.

 

Written by: Brendan Ogburn — sports@theaggie.org