March 16, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. -- The spring season came in like lion for the UC Davis men's soccer team as Sam Hoeck's header bounced in with just under 25 minutes to play and the defense stopped a penalty kick with less than 10 seconds to play in the opening period as the Aggies stunned the USL's Sacramento Republic FC, 1-0, on Sunday evening in front of a sellout crowd at the Aggie Soccer Field.
It is the first win by a college program over the Republic this season after Sacramento had defeated Chico State (2-1), Sacramento State (6-0), and UC Santa Barbara (6-1), in previous exhibitions.
Eddie Manella's cross from the right drew out Republic goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and found the head of Hoeck, who headed it back to the right side for the only score of the match.
UC Davis junior Matt Wiesenfarth had two early chances for the Aggies turned away, but the crucial play came with just 6.9 seconds remaining in the opening half with the two teams scoreless. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Armando Quezada was whistled for a foul in the box setting up the Republic for a penalty as the visitors looked to break the deadlock.
On came junior goalkeeper John Piasta, who stands 6-foot-5, as a sub for Quezada and made the crucial stop on the Republic's Rodrigo Lopez, whose rebound glanced off the inside of the crossbar and down without crossing the line, to preserve the shutout at halftime and set the stage for Hoeck's second-half winner.
Matt Sheldon had a chance to extend the lead with 12:45 remaining in the match on a ball played in by teammate Dashiell MacNamara that was saved by Gleeson coming off his line, while the Republic put on a press for the equalizer that netted numerous chances in the final three minutes.
Thomas Stewart had the first with just over three minutes to go, finding himself inside the box and spinning to his right before unleashing a shot that just caught the left-side netting that elicited cheers from the Sacramento Republic FC faithful that thought the ball had gone in.
With just over a minute remaining, Stewart had another chance when a ball got loose down the right side in the UC Davis defensive third, drawing Quezada out and leaving the net wide open. Stewart's attempt from just inside the top of the box, however, missed the right post mere inches as Quezada and the defense recovered.
Lopez had the final attempt for the Republic with 40 seconds to play as Quezada made a stop on his attempt from 18 yards out to preserve the victory.