Aug. 24, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Alex Aguiar connected with Matt Sheldon to score in the 85th minute and break a scoreless draw while Omar Zeenni made two saves in the second half to lead the UC Davis men's soccer team to a 1-0 season-opening victory on Friday at Aggie Soccer Field in Davis.
"UNLV was a very good opponent so for us to open the season with a win was huge for us," said head coach Dwayne Shaffer, who begins his 16th year with UC Davis in 2012. "In the first half, we played outstanding and we could have had at least one goal. UNLV made some good adjustments in the second half and made the game slow down so much that it took us a little bit to get into the rhythm again. I felt like we stayed to our game plan and we looked good in the areas that we worked on all preseason."
UC Davis outshot UNLV by a 7-0 margin in the first half, but could not find the back of the net. Ramon Martin Del Campo had a header attempt off of a long throw in from freshman Ryan Gross, but the header was just wide of the goal. Towards the end of the first half, John Joslin received the ball from Pat Reese and took a low shot from 25 yards out, but the shot fell wide as well.
UNLV took its first shot of the game just 30 seconds into the second half when Corey Ackley sent an attempt over the crossbar and out of play. In the 70th minute, Robert Garcia took a hard shot from 20 yards out, but Zeenni deflected it away then collected and cleared the ball out.
UC Davis nearly had its first goal of the game in the 72nd minute. Elliott Hord crossed a ball into the box and UNLV goalkeeper Joe Vitale came out to grab the cross, but mishandled the ball. Pat Sheldon made a pass back to Kevin Schulte who was waiting at the top of the six-yard box, but his shot on the ground was easily cleared away by a UNLV defender.
"I thought Kevin Schulte had the best game of his college career," said Shaffer. "Matt Sheldon was outstanding and so was Alex Henry. Brian Ford and Ramon as the center defense did really well and Ryan Gross, as a right back in his first game as a true freshman, was really good. We have the ability to be a great team. We just need some of our reserves to step up when given the opportunity and improve and make us a better team. I definitely think we are on the right path."
Aguiar's goal finally came in the 85th minute after Matt Sheldon passed a ball in to the junior team captain. Aguiar one-touched the shot into the lower left corner to send UC Davis to victory.
UC Davis begins a three-game road trip on Monday by traveling to CSU Bakersfield for a 7 p.m. kick off.