Oct. 13, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Alex Henry curled a direct free kick into the upper left corner of the goal in the 85th minute and Omar Zeenni and the UC Davis defense shut out eighth-ranked UC Santa Barbara in a 1-0 men's soccer victory on Saturday at Aggie Soccer Field.
UC Davis wins its fourth straight game to improve to 6-4-4 overall. The Aggies also own a 4-1 conference record and picked up three more points to remain in second place in the Big West Conference standings, sitting just one point back of Sacramento State.
UC Santa Barbara drops its second straight game to move to 8-2-3 overall and 2-2-1 in the Big West.
"It's a great accomplishment for this team and a huge win for the UC Davis athletics program," said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. "UC Santa Barbara is one of the pinnacle programs in the country, but I thought we were the better team on the day. It's a great win and puts us in a great position in the conference. Our goal is to finish in the top two and have a shot to make the Big West Tournament and the NCAA Tournament."
In front of a season-high 1,344 fans, Alex Henry lined up a direct free kick at the 84:50 mark on the right wing. He sent a ball into the penalty box, but the shot curled into the upper left corner of the goal and over the hands of UC Santa Barbara goalkeeper Austin Mansker.
The Aggies last defeated the Gauchos on Oct. 11, 2008 as UC Santa Barbara has won the last six straight matches. The last UC Davis victory on Aggie Soccer Field was on Nov. 23, 2006.
UC Davis created offensive opportunities from the start after Alex Aguiar and Mansker battled for a ball in just the third minute of play. Aguiar distributed a pass to Eric Budniewski in the wing who crossed it back into the box and Aguiar and Mansker collided on the shot attempt at the same time. After a brief scramble, Mansker smothered the ball for the save.
UCSB's first shot didn't happen until the 16:46 mark when Peter McGlynn's shot on the ground easily found Omar Zeenni's hands.
Zeenni totaled three saves on the day for his fifth shutout of the season. With 12 career shutouts, Zeenni takes over sole possession of fourth place in the UC Davis history books for career shutouts.
In the 56th minute, the Gauchos lined up a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. Fifi Baiden touched it back to McGlynn who ran onto the ball and one-touched a hard shot onto goal, but Zeenni made a diving save to cover the ball on the ground.
Just one minute later, McGlynn made another attempt on Zeenni, this time serving a shot into the air towards the upper left corner of the goal, but Zeenni stretched and caught the ball for the save.
"Omar did a great job in directing his defense and I thought Ryan Gross, Brian Ford, Ramon Martin Del Campo and Alex Henry were outstanding today," said Shaffer. "Mustafa Chopan is a fifth year senior who does so much work for us in the center of the midfield and he was outstanding today as well. It was a great overall team effort in front of a huge crowd today. Hopefully the fans come back because they got to see a great soccer game."
UC Davis returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Cal Poly in a 7 p.m. match.