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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

UC Davis soccer wins their first game in the Big West Conference Championship

A hard battle for the Aggies against the Cal Poly Mustangs


By MEGAN JOSEPH — sports@theaggie.org


With a packed stadium and an enthusiastic student section, UC Davis men’s soccer had their first game of the Big West Conference Championship on Nov. 1. The game proved to be one of the most thrilling and close games of the season so far with both UC Davis and the opposing team fighting for a victory that would let them advance to the semifinals. In the end, the Aggies could not be stopped as they scored the only goal in the game. 

Tension and aggression seemed to be in the air as both teams were getting called out for many fouls throughout the game. The Cal Poly Mustangs’ very physical gameplay style could not be ignored as they proved to be an aggressive opponent for the Aggies. Nonetheless, the Aggies did a great job at stopping all of the Mustang attacks toward their goal. 

Starting the game off strong, the Aggies held possession of the ball and took numerous shots on the opposing team’s goal. Second-years Cason Goodman, Zack Lillington and Chase Tanon lead the offensive attack against the Mustangs’ defense. Goodman’s many breakthrough runs and passes helped the team take shots on the opposing team’s goal, utilizing his fast sprints and quick movements.

Lillington had one of his best performances of the entire season. He alone took a total of seven shots on the goal, which is the most shots by any Aggie so far this season. At the 11th minute of the game, Lillington had an outstanding breakthrough run that resulted in him taking a powerful right-footed shot toward the top corner of the net — mere inches away from going into the Mustang’s goal. It’s shocking we did not see a goal from Lillington in this game, but we are sure to see one in the future in the Big West competition. 

Tanon became the only player to score a goal in the entire game when he had his starring moment in the 81st minute of the game. A battle in the box, Tanon showed his dynamic footwork and ability to hold possession of the ball as he accepted a pass in the box from fifth-year Ryan Dieter. Tanon then took a touch away from his defender and passed the ball into the lower right corner of the goal, putting the Aggies one goal ahead of the Mustangs. Tanon has shown his true potential on the team with this goal combined with his other two goals in the past four games.  

Not only did the Aggie offense work hard for the win, their defense controlled the entire game with numerous chase downs and preventions to keep the Mustangs from scoring. 

Fifth-year Sean Bilter and fourth-year Ethan Hoard had an important job of maintaining teamwork as they both captained the game from the defense. Third-years Cole Pond and Jason Hsu and second-year Luke Goodman all did a fantastic job on defense as they gave it their all to keep the Aggies from getting scored on. The defense took many strong plays from the Mustangs, but they fired back with some of their own equally powerful plays and did not let the Mustangs score or shoot nearly as many goals as themselves.

Although the defense did a great job at keeping the ball out of their box and goal, fourth-year Chuck Janssen had some outstanding saves against the Mustangs. In the second half, the Mustangs came back from halftime and put up a strong battle for a goal, but that did not discourage Janssen as he stopped every ball that came close to the net. 

Overall, the Aggies had a very exhilarating start to their Big West Conference Championship, and we will hopefully continue to see wins by the Aggies as they advance to future rounds. After this game, it’s safe to say the Aggies will be a hard team to beat in this championship.



Written by: Megan Joseph — sports@theaggie.org 


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