Aug 29, 2013
UC Davis Aggies (0-0)
Portland Pilots (0-0)
Nike Portland Invitational
Friday, Aug. 30 - 7 p.m.
Harry A. Merlo Field (4,892) - Portland, Ore.
UC Davis Aggies
Oregon State Beavers (0-0)
Nike Portland Invitational
Sunday, Sept. 1 - 1:30 p.m.
Patrick Wayne Valley Stadium (1,500) - Corvallis, Ore.
DAVIS, Calif. - Known for creating as challenging a schedule as possible to best prepare the team, head coach Dwayne Shaffer and his men's soccer squad will open the season at the Nike Portland Invitational this Friday, in Portland. After facing one of the most well respected soccer programs in the nation, the Aggies will conclude their Invitational schedule in Corvallis, Ore., with a Sunday afternoon match at Oregon State.
Links to access a live stream of Friday's season opener, and live stats for both matches are available at ucdavisaggies.com.
Unlike UC Davis, Portland did not schedule an exhibition match and will take the field for the first time this year against the Aggies. The Pilots will conclude their tournament, at home, against Cleveland State Sunday afternoon.
On Aug. 25, the Aggies hosted Chico State in an exhibition matchup that ended in a scoreless draw after 110 minutes of action.
In a home-heavy schedule that features seven of its first eight matches at Harry A. Merlo Field, Portland has 12 letterwinners and six starters returning for Director of Soccer Bill Irwin this season.
Even though Irwin lost Steven Evans, his top scorer in 2012 who was responsible for 14 of the Pilots' 31 goals to Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers, senior netminder Justin Baarts returns to anchor Portland's defense.
Last season, Baarts started all 18 games played, recorded 74 saves, three shutouts and posted a 1.86 goals against average.
Oregon State, the final opponent the Aggies will face at the Nike Portland Invitational, started its season on Aug. 23 with a tune-up event against Northwest Nazarene. In that exhibition, the Beavers took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, returned to the field and scored another five goals throughout the rest of the afternoon to record a 6-0 victory.
Senior forward Daniel Van Vleet led his team in scoring that day with two goals, another four Beavers scored one goal apiece to comprise Oregon State's offense.
As is the case with UC Davis, Oregon State's roster features a double-digit total of returners and a majority of starters returning. Compared to the Aggies who return 10 letterwinners and nine starters, the Beavers will field 13 letterwinners and six starters in 2013.
Just like its cross-state rival Portland, Oregon State lost its top scorer from 2012 to the MLS, but returns its primary goalkeeper.
Selected by Toronto FC with the 16th pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, former Beaver forward Emery Welshman was responsible for 10 of Oregon State's 32 goals scored in 2012.
Welshman was one of 12 players responsible for at least one Beaver goal in 2012; with four to his credit last season, junior forward Khiry Shelton is the team's top scoring returner this year.
In his first year as Oregon State's `keeper, then-redshirt freshman Matt Bersano started all 18 games, recorded 79 saves, four shutouts and a 1.17 GAA.
LET'S GET IT STARTED
Last year, UC Davis defeated UNLV, 1-0, at Aggie Soccer Field, to earn its first season-opening victory since the 2008 season when the Aggies defeated Long Island 3-1. In the Dwayne Shaffer era, UC Davis is 6-8-2 in season openers.
This season's opener against Portland, in the Nike Portland Invitational, marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Aggies have opened their schedule on the road.
LET'S GET IT STARTED AT HOME
In his first 16 home openers, Coach Shaffer's teams have compiled a 10-3-3 record and have earned victories in six of the last nine seasons. Washington, the only team to defeat UC Davis as a Division I program, escaped Davis with a win in double overtime in the Aggies 2009 home opener.
THREE YEARS HAVE PAST, TIME TO PLAY THE PILOTS
UC Davis is 0-1-1 all-time against Portland and will make its first appearance at Merlo Field this season. Previous meetings against the Pilots include a 3-3 double-overtime draw, at home, in 2007, and a 2-1 overtime loss in a neutral-site match at the Husky Fever Classic in 2010.
THREE TIMES TWO IS...
UC Davis' all-time record against Oregon State in its six meetings is 2-2-2. In 2004 and '05, the teams recorded consecutive draws at Corvallis and Davis respectively; the next four matchups in 2006, '07, '10 and '11 saw each squad take turns earning a victory against the other. Oregon State defeated UC Davis 3-0 in '06 and 3-2 during the '10 season, the Aggies recorded a 3-1 win in '07 and a 1-0 double-overtime win in their last head-to-head contest against the Beavers in `11. In all four occasions, the home team earned a win.
CONTINUING HIS CLIMB
Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni enters the 2013 season tied for No. 2 all time with 13 shutouts alongside Jason Kong (1998-2001) and Barry Wong (1990-91). With his next clean sheet, he will hold second place outright and sit three shutouts shy of matching the program record of 17 held by Nic Platter (2000-03).
MAKING HIS MARK IN THE BIG WEST CONFERENCE
Perhaps the top returning netminder in the Big West is senior Omar Zeenni. An All-Big West Second Team selection in 2012, Zeenni recorded an impressive 0.91 goals against average with six shutouts. He enters his senior year tied for ninth in Big West annals with a 1.00 career GAA. As long as he stays healthy, Zeenni should break into the Big West top 10 in shutouts, goalie minutes and matches in goal by season's end.
DEFENDING REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONS PICKED SECOND IN PRESEASON POLL
Despite three first-place votes, the UC Davis men's soccer team was picked to finish second in the North Division in the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll, the league announced on Thursday.
The Aggies received three of the eight potential first-place votes and picked up 23 total points, but UC Santa Barbara narrowly edged them out with five first-place votes and 25 points. Cal Poly checked in third in the North Division with 21 points and Sacramento State was last with 11.
UC Davis claimed the program's first Big West regular season title in 2012 as they bested their North Division competition with a 7-3 conference record.
In the South Division, defending Big West Tournament champion Cal State Northridge came in first with six first-place votes and a league-high 30 points. UC Irvine was picked to finish second with one first-place vote and 21 total points. Cal State Fullerton also picked up a first-place vote but came in third with 16 points and UC Riverside was last with 13 points.
THE SEASON BEFORE THE SEASON
As was the case last season, UC Davis will host three non-conference matches before hosting UC Irvine in its inaugural Big West contest of the year. After competing at the Nike Portland Invitational, the Aggies will return home to face Seattle and CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 6 and 8 respectively. The final non-conference event scheduled this season at Aggie Soccer Field will take place against San Francisco on Sept. 15. All home non-conference games will kickoff at 5 p.m.
Just like the 2012 campaign, UC Davis will compete in six road events before facing the Anteaters; the Aggies will travel to face Portland (Aug. 30), Oregon State (Sept. 1), Saint Mary's (Sept. 12), San Diego (Sept. 20), Loyola Marymount (Sept. 22) and New Mexico (Sept. 27).
BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
Throughout the season, UC Davis' record will be broken down and available each week by the following categories: overall, at home, on the road, at neutral sites, against ranked opponents, against Big West teams, in Big West home and road games, in shutouts, in games decided by one goal/two or more goals, in overtime, when UC Davis/opponents score first, when leading/trailing/tied at halftime, when outshooting/outshot opponents, taking more/fewer/equal number of corner kicks and when committing more/fewer/equal number of fouls.
TRULY A TEAM EFFORT
UC Davis finished a 10-7-4 record last season, marking the first time since 2008 that the program collected double-digit victories. The Aggies managed that without a go-to scorer, as four different players tied for the team lead with three goals apiece.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE AGGIES' ROSTER
Included below is a breakdown of UC Davis' 2013 roster by class, primary position and geography.
Sophomores (6): Eric Budniewski, Ryan Gross, Hoshang Hatifie, Lucas Mohageg, John Piasta, Kris Schultz
Juniors (8): Andre Brown, Brian Ford, Eddie Manella, Ramon Martin Del Campo, Sam Hoeck, Ian Palmer, Matt Sheldon, Matt Wiesenfarth
Goalkeepers (4): John Piasta, Armando Quezada, Kris Schultz, Omar Zeenni
Defenders (9): Brian Ford, Ryan Gross, Alex Henry, Sam Hoeck, Ramon Martin Del Campo, Lucas Mohageg, Ian Palmer, Spencer Williams, Connor Willis-Hong
California (28): Alex Aguiar, Andre Brown, Eric Budniewski, Ryan Caro, Brian Ford, Michael Garrick, Nick Grigoriev, Ryan Gross, Hoshang Hatifie, Alex Henry, Sam Hoeck, Elliott Hord, Justin Kitts, Dashiell MacNamara, Eddie Manella, Logan Magonigal, Ramon Martin Del Campo, Lucas Mohageg, Ian Palmer, John Piasta, Armando Quezada, Kevin Schulte, Kris Schultz, Isaac Stuart, Matt Wiesenfarth, Spencer Williams, Connor Willis-Hong, Omar Zeenni
Australia (1): Kirk Kappelhoff