June 26, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - Head coach Dwayne Shaffer and the UC Davis men's soccer team, the reigning Big West North Division champions, will play eight home games as part of a challenging and exciting 2013 schedule, the program announced on Wednesday.
The Aggies will play a typically tough Big West Conference slate after opening up the season with nine non-conference games, including a pair against top-12 foes from a season ago.
"We have another incredibly challenging schedule set for 2013," Shaffer said. "I always say that our program will play anyone, anywhere, at any time. Our schedule is one of the toughest in the nation every year and this one is certainly no exception."
The non-conference portion of the schedule is highlighted by a visit to San Diego on Sept. 20 before a trip to New Mexico on Sept. 27. The Toreros advanced to the Elite Eight last season and finished the season ranked No. 12 in the nation while the Lobos were rated as high as No. 1 in the nation in the regular season before wrapping up the year with a trip to the Sweet 16 and a No. 10 final ranking.
After an exhibition against Chico State on Aug. 25, the Aggies open up the season on Aug. 30 at perennial power Portland before visiting Pac-12 foe Oregon State on Sept. 1 as part of a University of Portland tournament. Shaffer's squad will then play host to Seattle U in the home opener on Sept. 6 before welcoming CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 8. A trip to Saint Mary's on Sept. 12 will be followed by a home game against San Francisco on Sept. 15. The games against San Diego and New Mexico are sandwiched around a visit to Loyola Marymount on Sept. 22.
"Our non-conference schedule will serve us well for RPI purposes at the end the season and will set us up for conference play," Shaffer added.
UC Davis opens up Big West Conference action at home against UC Irvine on Oct. 4 and and Cal State Northridge on Oct. 6. The Aggies will then head to SoCal the following weekend to play Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside.
UC Davis will begin its Big West North Division title defense on Oct. 19, playing host to UC Santa Barbara. The Aggies will then head to Cal Poly on Oct. 22 before its first meeting against Causeway Cup rival Sacramento State at Aggie Soccer Field on Oct. 26. A return trip to UCSB is on tap for Nov. 2 before Cal Poly heads North on Nov. 6. UC Davis will close out the regular season on Nov. 9 at Sacramento State.
This season, the top three teams from both the North and South Division will qualify for the Big West Tournament. The No. 2 seeds will host the No. 3 seeds in the quarterfinals on Nov. 12 while the No. 1 seeds will host the semifinals on Nov. 15. The championship game will be hosted by the highest remaining seed on Nov. 17.
The Aggies return their top-10 scorers from a season ago and nine regular starters. Goalkeeper Omar Zeenni and forward Kevin Schulte, both second team all-Big West selections a season ago, are back for their senior campaigns in 2013. Junior defender Brian Ford, a third team all-Far West Region choice in 2012, will return to guide a stout back line which was one of the stingiest in the league last year.
"We lose three great seniors, but we return everybody else from a successful season," Shaffer said. "We should be an exciting team to watch and we can't wait to see all the Aggie faithful out at the field."