SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The UC Davis men's soccer team scored three unanswered goals in a 19-minute span in the second half to rally to a 3-1 victory over Sacramento State in a Big West Conference match on Saturday at Hornet Field in Sacramento.
With the win, UC Davis takes sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference North Division with 15 points. The Aggies own a 7-5-4 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the Big West. UC Davis also becomes the top team in the entire league.
Cal Poly and Sacramento State are tied for second with 13 points, while UC Santa Barbara is in fourth place with 10 points.
The Aggies fell behind late in the first half after Isaac Ikyurav scored in the 40th minute to give Sacramento State a 1-0 lead. Gabe Silveira found Isaac Ikyurav in the box on a cross, then Ikyurav fired a shot on the near post from eight yards out. UC Davis goalkeeper Omar Zeenni was able to get a hand on it, but the shot deflected off Zeenni and into the top of the net.
"I thought we played decent in the first half, we just didn't score a goal," said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. "But the second half was an outstanding effort all the way around. The first-half performance just wasn't good enough and they responded. It all boils down to how much you want it and how hard you play and I thought we finally showed our true colors in the second half of what type of team we can be when we play hard."
UC Davis responded in a huge way in the second half, outshooting Sacramento State 16-0 in the period. Alex Aguiar got the offense going with four shots in the first 13 minutes of the half, including a hard shot from 12 yards out that forced a leaping save out of Sacramento State goalkeeper Bryan Oliver.
Brian Ford scored the equalizer in the 60th minute, heading in an Alex Henry corner kick for his first goal of the season.
From there, UC Davis continued to control possession until Eric Budniewski scored his first career goal in the 68th minute. Aguiar crossed a ball into the box and found Budniewski on the far post. The freshman struck a shot past Oliver to give UC Davis the 2-1 lead.
John Joslin saw two header attempts denied by Oliver, but he sealed the UC Davis win with his first goal of the year just 10 minutes later. Joslin received a pass from Elliott Hord, then slotted a shot into the lower left corner to give the Aggies the 3-1 lead and eventual win.
"Brian Ford works his tail off at every practice and for him to come out and be a leader and to get on the end of a header was outstanding for him and the team," said Shaffer. "Eric Budniewski's been playing so well all season, and today a goal went in for him which was awesome to see. John Joslin is a fifth-year senior who has worked so hard his entire career. Something before the game told me JJ was going to be in on it somehow, someway so it was nice to see him not only score, but to have so many close chances in that second half."
UC Davis begins the second half of Big West divisional play on Sunday, taking on UC Santa Barbara at Harder Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.