Aggies End WCC Spree with a Tough Tie at LMU

Alex Aguiar earned his first assist of the year Sunday afternoon at Loyola Marymount. (Wayne Tilcock,
Alex Aguiar earned his first assist of the year Sunday afternoon at Loyola Marymount. (Wayne Tilcock,

Sept. 22, 2013

Box Score

LOS ANGELES - Matt Sheldon scored his team-high third goal of the year in the 24th minute of Sunday's non-conference matchup at Loyola Marymount to help UC Davis leave Sullivan Field with a 1-1, double-overtime draw. 

The result caps a four-match portion of the Aggies' schedule against teams from the West Coast Conference. Including victories earned at Saint Mary's, and against San Francisco, UC Davis ends its two-week WCC spree with a 2-1-1 record.

The Aggies will head into Friday's match at New Mexico, the final tune-up before the start of Big West action, with a 3-4-1 overall record; LMU is now 4-1-1 with Sunday's result.

"I thought today was another great effort by my team. I though we played well enough to win the game," said UC Davis head coach Dwayne Shaffer following the match.

Matt Sheldon helped the Aggies score first in the 24th minute when he beat LMU goalkeeper Billy Thompson to give UC Davis the only lead held by either team on the afternoon. 

Earning his first assist on the play was Alex Aguiar.

"I thought it was a great buildup," said Shaffer regarding the play that led to the Aggies' goal. "It was a great combination of passes that ended with a slip (behind LMU's defenders) to Sheldon." 

The score remained in UC Davis' favor until LMU's Juan De Rada tied the match in the 33rd minute, a score that remained untouched throughout the rest of regulation and each of the two 10-minute overtime periods that followed.

Even though Omar Zeenni was able to get his hand on the shot when he lunged after the ball, he was unable to push it past the outer half of the far post.



If competing against one of the most talented teams in the West Coast Conference, on its own pitch was not challenging enough as is, UC Davis faced an even greater obstacle to overcome when the team fell one man down due to a red card. 

Instead of shifting their personnel accordingly to preserve a tie, a strategy some coaches would have employed in that situation, the Aggies continued attacking the Lions' goal whenever possible. Even down one player, UC Davis recorded just as many shots on goal as Loyola Marymount, and even generated a higher number of scoring opportunities compared to its opponent from the time the red card was received, until the final horn sounded at the end of the match. 

"Even though the red card changed the dynamic of the game, I still thought we were a dangerous team. We had some incredible opportunities; the guys fought hard, were incredibly disciplined and played well together," said Shaffer.

Compared to LMU's two goalkeepers, who each recorded two saves throughout their 50-plus minutes on the pitch, Zeenni played all 110 minutes for UC Davis and finished with three saves.

Ryan Gross led all players with three shots; responsible for the only assist on the day, Aguiar, Ramon Martin Del Campo and Eric Budniewski took two shots apiece. 

As a team, UC Davis outshot LMU, 12-10, but took three fewer corners compared to the Lions (7-4).

The tie was UC Davis' first since Sept. 6, 2012, when the Aggies left San Francisco with a 2-2 result against the Dons.

UC Davis has also not dropped any of the matches Sheldon has scored in this season.

Added Shaffer, "Even though we are playing a lot of games on the road against tough competition, the team is playing really well. The results will start to fall for us if we keep playing like this.

"We're developing into a good team, the guys that are playing are getting better, our fitness level is good, our confidence is growing and our team chemistry is building each week."