DAVIS, Calif. -Alex Aguiar converted a penalty kick in the first half, then Alex Henry scored a beauty of a goal in the 79th minute to lead the UC Davis men's soccer team to a 2-1 win over Cal State Fullerton on Sunday at Aggie Soccer Field in Davis.
UC Davis wins its third straight game to improve to 5-4-4 overall and 3-1 in the Big West. Over the last three games, the Aggies have outscored their opponents 6-2.
Cal State Fullerton drops to 4-9-1 overall and are 0-3-1 in league action.
"We talked as a team and it was our objective to start fast," said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. "We created some chances right away and had some great opportunities to score a goal in the first half. I told the team that if we got up on them, we'd have a great chance to win."
Henry got the Aggies started offensively at the 8:59 mark, lining up a direct free kick but hitting the shot into the wall set up by the Cal State Fullerton defense. From there, however, UC Davis outshot Cal State Fullerton 7-3 in the first half.
In the 30th minute, Ryan Gross received the ball on the right sideline, dribbled through several Titan defenders, then took a low hard shot on the ground, but his attempt was wide left.
Aguiar then put UC Davis up with a successful penalty kick in the 36th minute. He kept the ball low and on the ground, slotting the shot just past Cal State Fullerton goalkeeper Robbie Hannon and into the lower right corner. It was Aguiar's third goal of the year.
The Aggies continued to press during the first half as John Joslin made a run down the left line. His cross along the ground found Pat Reese charging into the penalty area. Reese came sliding in, attempting to one touch Joslin's cross, but Hannon was on hand to deflect it out of play.
The Titans put away the equalizer in the 63rd minute, however. Jameson Campbell's header was deflected away by UC Davis goalkeeper Omar Zeenni and, after a scramble in the box, Ian Ramos was on hand to put it away and tie the game at one goal apiece.
UC Davis continued to fight as Ramon Martin Del Campo nearly scored in the 67th minute. Elliott Hord crossed a ball in from the left side, but Martin Del Campo's header went just over the crossbar and out of play.
Eric Budniewski had a solid look at the game-winner as well at the 74:37 mark. After a cross from Kevin Schulte skipped along the ground and through the Cal State Fullerton defense, Budniewski one-touched a shot onto the right post, but his attempt was just wide.
Henry then put the Aggies up for good with a gem of a goal in the 79th minute. After attempts by Kevin Schulte and Pat Reese were cleared away by the Titan defense, Henry controlled the clearance and hit a low hard shot from 35 yards out that found the far right corner of the net perfectly. It was hist first goal of the year.
"We gave them life and allowed them the opportunity to score that goal and it turned into a good, hard game," said Shaffer. "We responded and Alex Henry scored a great goal. I'm happy with my team. We've played an extremely difficult schedule and we've won three conference games in a row so I feel like we're getting better and better. We have a big game coming up on Saturday against UC Santa Barbara so we'll take a couple of days to rest and get our legs and our minds back and get prepared."
Aguiar led all players with four shots as UC Davis outshot Cal State Fullerton 17-8.
UC Davis wraps up a three-game homestand on Saturday, hosting UC Santa Barbara at 3 p.m. at Aggie Soccer Field.