DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis sophomore Adam Mickelson finished with a goal and assist in the second half on Thursday afternoon, helping lift the host Aggies to their first shutout of the season in a, 2-0, win over UC Irvine in the Big West Conference opener for both teams at the Aggie Soccer Field.
The victory improved UC Davis to 4-5-1 overall and 1-0 in league play, winning its third straight in the series with the Anteaters and coming out on top for the fourth time in its last five Big West openers. UCI fell to 5-4-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play with the loss.
"I'm extremely happy and pleased with my team," Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer said. "We've suffered a couple of heart-breaking losses that 'coulda, shoulda, woulda' gone our way, but they didn't. So, today was a good game for us to rebound and get a victory."
With both teams playing to a scoreless first half, junior Justin Wright, a political science major from Tujunga, Calif., wasted no time in getting the Aggies on the board just 1:32 into the second period, working a give-and-go with Mickelson on the right side before going 1-v-1 with goalkeeper Alex Waldron, poking home his first goal of the year to the right side for a 1-0 lead.
Wright, who made his season debut on Thursday, became the 10th different UC Davis player to score a goal in 2017, finding the back of the net for the first time since scoring against Pacific in a 6-0 win on Sept. 20, 2015.
"To have (Justin) come back after being out, score a goal, and give us a lift was huge," Shaffer said. "He's a dynamic, athletic, player and that was a great goal. He has that kind of ability and the kind of a soccer brain to do that, so it was really nice to see him get back on the field and score in his debut."
That advantage lasted until the 75th minute when Mickelson, who logged his first career point with an assist against San Diego back on Sept. 10, completed his three-point afternoon, getting his head on the end of a cross from teammate Miguel Acevedo, who served a ball to the back left post from near the end line, for a 2-0 advantage.
The score was the first of Mickelson's career as the sociology major from Missoula, Mont., became the fifth different Aggie to score his first career goal this season. He is the third UC Davis player with a goal and an assist -- and the fourth with at least three points -- in a single contest in 2017.
Sophomore goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley made four saves en route to his first career shutout, stopping three shots in the second half to keep the Anteaters off the board. Wright and Kyle Higgins led the Aggies with three shots apiece, helping their team to a 13-8 advantage in that category for the match.
UC Davis closes out its first weekend of Big West play on Saturday (Sept. 30) at 2 p.m., hosting CSUN at the Aggie Soccer Field.
NCAA Soccer Game Summary (Final)
UC Irvine (5-4-1, 0-1 Big West) vs. UC Davis (4-5-1, 1-0 Big West)
Date: Sep 28, 2017 Attendance: 596
Weather: 91 deg., clear, no breeze
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
UC Irvine........... 0 0 - 0
UC Davis............ 0 2 - 2
1. 46:32 UCD Wright, Justin (1) (Mickelson, Adam) - played through 1v1 right side
2. 74:55 UCD Mickelson, Adam (1) (Acevedo, Miguel) - cross right to left at end line, header left post
Shots: UC Irvine 8, UC Davis 13
Saves: UC Irvine 4 (Waldron, Alex 4), UC Davis 4 (Lapsley, Wallis 4)