Oct. 28, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Matt Sheldon scored the equalizer with just three seconds left in the first half, then put away the game winner in the 95th minute to lead the UC Davis men's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Sunday at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara.
With the win, UC Davis remains in first place in the North Division with 18 points and an overall record of 8-5-4 to go with a Big West Conference record of 6-2. The Aggies own a two-point lead over Sacramento State which is in second with 16 points while Cal Poly is in third with 13 points.
UC Davis sweeps UC Santa Barbara for the first time in program history after also topping the Gauchos, ranked eighth at the time, in Davis on Oct. 13. The Aggies had not won at Harder Stadium since the 2008 season, which is also the last time UC Davis went unbeaten in a season against UC Santa Barbara after posting a win and a tie that year.
"It's a great win for the team," said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. "They've worked their tails off and right now they're playing with confidence. They're playing good soccer, they're creating numerous opportunities to score and we're playing to our strengths. We're on top of the Big West standings again just like last year so we're doing the right things with the right kids in our program who are playing hard."
The Gauchos were the first to get on the scoreboard, however, after Achille Campion scored in the 28th minute to put UCSB up 1-0. Goffin Boyoko put a cross in from the right side of the box that found Nic Ryan who passed it to Ema Boateng. As Campion made a run, Boateng back heeled a pass to him and he scored on the back post for his sixth goal of the season.
Sheldon's first goal came just three seconds before the halftime buzzer. After Ryan Gross' long throw in into the box, Gaucho defender Peter Schmetz headed the ball away to the left sideline and back to Gross who crossed the ball in to Ramon Martin Del Campo. In the midst of a scramble in front of the box, Martin del Campo had his back to the goal with two defenders on him, but found a way to slip a pass to Sheldon who slotted a shot into the into the lower left corner of the goal.
The teams stayed knotted through the rest of the second half as Omar Zeenni and the UC Davis defense warded off 26 total shots from the Gauchos, 12 of which came in the second half. Zeenni finished with six saves.
"Omar was awesome," said Shaffer. "He played outstanding. He's performed well for us all season and when we needed him to step up and make some big saves today, he was there for us. Ramon was outstanding in the air and won many head balls. Brian Ford shut down their attack and Alex Henry and Ryan Gross were, once again, outstanding as fullbacks and helped us on the attack as well."
Midway through the first overtime period, Sheldon sealed the win for UC Davis. Another long throw from Gross forced Gaucho goalkeeper Austin Mansker to come out and punch the ball away, but was unable to get a handle on the ball. It fell to Sheldon whose first shot was deflected away by defenders Daniel Welsh and Peter McGlynn as they guarded the goal. The rebound off of Welsh came back to Sheldon who ran onto the ball and put it away in between the two defenders.
"Sheldon had a great day and he has really turned his game up to another level in the past couple of weeks which has been great and has helped our team tremendously," said Shaffer. "The two goals that were scored both came off of set pieces and he was in the right place at the right time."
UC Davis closes out the regular season with two home games, hosting Cal Poly on Wednesday before finishing at home against Sacramento State on Nov. 3. Both games begin at 3 p.m. at Aggie Soccer Field.