IRVINE, Calif. -- Juniors Noah Wilson and Chase Rhode scored goals five minutes apart in the second half on Saturday night -- including the game-winner by the latter in the 67th minute -- helping the UC Davis men's soccer team rally from a one-goal deficit at the half and post a, 3-2, victory over host UC Irvine at Anteater Stadium.
The victory snapped a brief two-match skid for UC Davis, which improved to 5-4-2 overall and 1-1 in Big West Conference play on the season. The Anteaters, who received a pair of goals by Luis Leon just a minute apart to take the lead late in the first half, fell to 2-9 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Rhode's second goal of the season -- and second game-winning strike of 2016 -- came off a corner kick midway through the second half as Wilson sent a ball into the box that found teammate Kristian Heptner. Heptner's initial shot was saved by UCI goalkeeper Alex Waldron, but the rebound fell straight to Rhode, who poked it home to break the 2-2 tie.
The Anteaters followed with three of the final four shots of the night, but senior goalkeeper Armando Quezada was up to the task, making key stops on back-to-back attempts by Michael Sperber and Giovanni Godoy in the 80th minute to maintain the one-goal advantage.
Rhode's goal came soon after Wilson had tied the match at two-all off passes from teammates Justin Wright -- his second of the night -- and Greg Salazar. A cross was headed back across the goal box to Wilson, who headed home his team-high fourth score of the season and increased his team-high point total to 10 on the year.
It was Wilson's second three-point night of the season after tallying a goal and an assist at CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 15, and marked his third goal in the last four matches for the Aggies.
UC Davis wasted no time in getting on the board Saturday night, as junior Evan Barrett tallied his first goal of the season (and the third of his career) just seven minutes in. Passes by Brian Quintero and Wright fed Barrett on the right wing, who then dribbled in and finished inside the left post for the 1-0 advantage.
The Anteaters drew even in the 33rd minute on Leon's first of the night as a cross by Thomas Janjigian was redirected by Daniel Crisostomo to Leon, who finished to make it a 1-1 game. Just 66 seconds later, Leon was able to put Irvine ahead with his second goal of the night, stealing a ball along the left wing and poking home a shot inside the right post, giving UCI a 2-1 lead heading into the locker room at the break.
Wilson shared game-high honors with a pair of Anteaters with four shots on the night, but UC Irvine held a 15-12 advantage in shots. Both teams were fairly accurate with their attempts as Irvine put seven shots on frame, while the Aggies finished with six shots on goal.
Quezada finished with three saves on the night and got some help from his defenders, who cleared an attempt by Godoy off the line just before the end of the first half, and another after a collision with one of his own players caught Quezada out of position, but Godoy's shot from his seat was turned away by an Aggie on the line in the 61st minute.
UC Davis returns for a pair at home next week, welcoming UC Riverside to Northern California on Thursday (Oct. 6) at 1:30 p.m., while the Aggies host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday (Oct. 8) at 1 p.m. at the Aggie Soccer Field.