Wild finish caps Aggies' win over Hornets

Sophomore Kristian Heptner (#23) scored his team-best fifth goal of the year on Saturday at Sacramento State. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
Oct. 15, 2016

Box Score

SACRAMENTO -- Sophomore Kristian Heptner scored his team-high fifth goal of the season, and the two teams combined for a flurry of three goals in the final 1:06 of the match on Saturday evening, as the UC Davis men's soccer team bounced back with a 3-1 victory over host Sacramento State at Hornet Field.

The Aggies improved to 7-6-2 overall and 3-3 in Big West Conference play with the victory, scoring three goals in a match for the third time in the last five contests -- and the fourth time overall. Since league play began, UC Davis has lost the first match of each week by identical 2-1 scores, only to rebound with a win in its second match of the week, scoring three goals in each of those contests and outscoring the opposition, 9-3, in those outings.

The Hornets, who entered the day unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Aggies, fell to 6-6-2 overall and 2-3-1 in league play.

After the two teams played to a scoreless tie after 45 minutes, Heptner got UC Davis on the board just four minutes into the second period off passes from Greg Salazar and Miguel Acevedo. From the left side of the Sacramento State goal, Salazar fed Acevedo near the end line and a short cross into the box found the head of Heptner for a 1-0 advantage in the 49th minute.

Heptner's fifth goal of the year -- and his second score in the last three contests -- pushed him past teammate Noah Wilson and into the team lead with five goals and 11 points on the season, while Salazar notched his team-best fourth assist and Acevedo was credited with his first helper of the season on the play.

That set the scene for Saturday's wild finish as the Aggies went up two goals in the 89th minute on junior Evan Barrett's second strike of the year on the counterattack as Brian Quintero fed the Sacramento native, whose blast snuck underneath the crossbar for the 2-0 lead. Junior Kyle Higgins was also credited with an assist on the play, setting the stage for a three-point night for the Montana native.

John Quintanilla pulled a goal back for the Hornets just 40 seconds after Barrett's blast at the 89:34 mark as he put home a rebound off a Mac Harrington shot to make it 2-1, but Higgins put the match out of reach just 14 seconds later, netting his fourth goal of the season after stealing the ball from goalkeeper James Del Curto and dribbling the ball into the open net for the final 3-1 score.

Higgins now ranks tied for second on the team with four goals and 10 points, tallying a point in his fourth consecutive match, scoring three goals and two assists in that span.

The Aggies finished with a 15-8 shot advantage, including a 9-2 advantage in the first half, led by a career-high six shots from Higgins. Senior goalkeeper Armando Quezada finished with four saves in the win.

UC Davis, which moved into second place in the North Division with the win, opens up a three-match homestand next week, hosting division-leading UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday (Oct. 19) at 3 p.m., before the Hornets cross the Causeway for a rematch on Saturday (Oct. 22), also at 3 p.m. Both matches will be played at the Aggie Soccer Field.