Sept. 28, 2006
DAVIS, Calif. - Fresh off of its stunning 1-0 victory against nationally-ranked UC Santa Barbara, the UC Davis men's soccer team will look to take its recent success on the road when it faces UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge this weekend. The Aggies have won three straight matches, all of which have been shutouts against Big West Conference teams. In addition, head coach Dwayne Shaffer will be seeking to add to his Aggies' career win total after securing his 100th victory in the win against UCSB.
In its only game last week, UC Davis defeated the Gauchos before 780 fans at Aggie Soccer Stadium. Sule Anibaba scored a goal in the 19th minute, which stood up for the remainder of the match. At the time, UCSB was ranked in the top-25 in three national polls and held as high as a No. 12 ranking. The win was also Shaffer's 100th since becoming head coach at UC Davis in 1997. He entered the 2006 season averaging nearly 11 wins per year along the Aggie sidelines.
Last Saturday's win also added to a number of key victories for a program in its final year of transition from Division II to Division 1. In 2005, the Aggies defeated Stanford in a regular season contest and posted an exhibition win at Cal this season. This year, UC Davis needs just two more wins to equal last year's win total.
"Last year and the past few seasons, we haven't been an extremely deep or experienced team, said Shaffer. "That was sort of the plan I set for the program when we made the D-I move was to try to groom this particular group of players for the future of the program and get them as much experience and exposure as possible at a high level.
"I feel like it's starting to pay off with them now," added Shaffer. "The players are buying into what the coaching staff is teaching. We've played well. We're more experienced and organized which in turn is helping us in some of the tighter games, and we've come out on the winning end of a couple of tight games this year. Hopefully we'll continue with that."
For the year, Paul Marcoux leads the team in scoring with 10 points on five goals. Quincy Amarikwa has posted four goals and nine points while five other players have each scored one goal. The defense has also shined through the first half of the season, helping goalkeeper Charles Warne to four shutouts and a 1.30 goals against average.
Friday's match at UCR is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. The Highlanders enter the contest 3-5-1 after a tie at Cal State Northridge and a loss at home to UC Irvine last week. The Matadors are scheduled to host the Aggies on Sunday at 1 p.m. They are coming off a 5-0 victory against UCSB on Wednesday night at home.
UC Davis is next in action at Aggie Soccer Stadium on Oct. 4.