DAVIS, Calif. -Matt Wiesenfarth gave the Aggies an early lead with a goal in just the eighth minute of play, then put away the gamewinner in the 46th minute to lead the UC Davis men's soccer team to a 2-1 victory and the Big West Conference North Division title on Saturday at Aggie Soccer Field in Davis.
In front of a season-high crowd of 1,349 fans, UC Davis claimed three points to clinch the Big West Conference North Division with 21 total points.
The Aggies will host a semifinal game of the Big West Conference Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at a time that is yet to be determined. Tickets are on sale now through the UC Davis Ticket Office. General admission seats are on sale for $10 while student tickets are $5 each. Visit ucdavisaggies.com or call (530) 752-AGS1 to purchase tickets.
At the 8:06 mark, Wiesenfarth put away his first goal of the season with a header into the top right corner. Alex Aguiar chipped a pass over the Sacramento State defense which found Wiesenfarth whose header shot fell just over the outstretched fingers of Hornet goalkeeper Bryan Oliver and into the back of the net.
"I just think it was a good battle between two good teams," said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. "Sacramento State is a very good team and today was our day. I thought we were prepared and played well and did everything we needed to do to score the goals to win the game. I'm extremely excited for the team. We're champions of the North and I think it is well-deserved. We're looking forward to competing in the Big West Tournament and hosting a game on Wednesday and I hope all the Aggie supporters come on out."
Alex Henry nearly put the Aggies up by a second goal in the 30th minute after sending a long, arcing shot into the upper right corner of the goal. Oliver was forced to make a leaping catch and prevented the ball from going into the back of the net.
The Hornets responded just 36 seconds before the halftime buzzer. Max Alvarez intercepted a pass from Adam Rodriguez in the center of the field and sprinted past the Aggie defense towards the goal. His shot from the near side got past Omar Zeenni and rolled into the bottom right corner of the goal.
It was Wiesenfarth who delivered again just over a minute after the start of the second half. Alex Henry slotted a pass across the goal from the left side and Wiesenfarth, unable to make a turn in the box, back heeled it behind him and into the lower right corner of the goal, giving UC Davis the 2-1 lead.
From there the UC Davis defense and Zeenni stepped up to shut down the Hornets. In the 56th minute, Alvarez nearly had his second goal of the game. Gabe Silveira slipped a pass in between two Aggie defenders and Alvarez ran on to it, but his shot attempt went high.
The Aggies kept the pressure on offensively, as well, outshooting the Hornets 9-6 in the second half. Ramon Martin Del Campo put a header on goal off a corner kick by Kevin Schulte, but a Hornet defender was positioned near the back post and was able to head it away.
In the 76th minute, John Joslin lined up a direct free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. The shot sailed into the upper left corner of the goal, but Oliver was there to get a hand on it and deflect it out of play.
Down the stretch, Zeenni came up with another big save, his second of the game, to help seal the UC Davis victory.
"We have three very good seniors in our program and all three of them added so much to the team," said Shaffer. "They al showed so much leadership, so much fight and determination. Those three guys have been incredible to the program and they're seeing the fruits of their hard work over the last four or five years today with the North Division title."
UC Davis will host the No. 2 seed of the South Division on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at Aggie Soccer Field.