Nov. 15, 2013
IRVINE, Calif. -- UC Irvine's Enrique Cardenas netted the eventual game-winner 12 minutes in and Christopher Santana added a late insurance strike as host and top-seeded UC Irvine defeated UC Davis, 2-0, in the Big West Conference Men's Soccer Tournament semifinals on Friday night at Anteater Stadium.
The Aggies saw their postseason run come to an end, finishing the season with a 9-9-3 overall record and a 4-4-2 mark in Big West play, finishing second in the league's North Division during the regular season.
The Anteaters improved to 13-4-3 overall and advanced to the Big West championship game where they will host Cal State Northridge on Sunday (Nov. 17) at 2 p.m., after the Matadors defeated UC Santa Barbara, 3-2, in Friday's other semifinal.
Boosted by an 8-3 shot advantage in the first 45 minutes, Cardenas, the Big West's Midfielder of the Year, put UC Irvine ahead early off a corner kick by teammate Thomas Janjigian, settling at the top of the box and firing to the upper right corner for the, 1-0, lead.
The score remained that way through the rest of the half and late into the second period as the Aggies' defense clamped down, holding the Anteaters to just three shots after the break. However, UC Irvine added a late score with just over five minutes to play when Lester Hayes III took a long feed, gathered, and passed on to Santana, who skidded a low ball that went through traffic and in for the final 2-0 margin.
Held to just five shots in the match overall, UC Davis applied the early pressure as senior Alex Aguiar took the first two shots of the game, missing on the first before forcing goalkeeper Michael Breslin to make his only save of the match just three minutes in.
Ryan Gross had the Aggies' best chance of the second half just five minutes in off a cross into the box, but his shot sailed high and hard over the upper left corner after a scramble in the box.
Santana finished with a match-high six of UC Irvine's 11 shots on the night while the Anteaters held an, 8-5, lead in corner kicks for the night.
NCAA MEN'S SOCCER
UC Davis (9-9-3, 4-4-2 Big West) at UC Irvine (13-4-3, 7-2-1 Big West)
Date: Nov. 15, 2013
Goals by period-1-2-Tot
1. 11:21 UCI Cardenas, Enrique (Janjigian, Thomas) - corner, 10 off the bounce from top of box, shot to upper right
2. 84:21 UCI Santana, Christopher (Hayes III, Lester) - long feed, 17 gathers, feeds ahead to 7, shot through keeper
Shots: UC Davis 5, UC Irvine 11
Saves: UC Davis 2 (Zeenni, Omar 2), UC Irvine 1 (Breslin, Michael 1)