Oct. 2, 2013
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
Sept. 27 at No. 25 New Mexico: W, 2-1
THIS WEEK'S ACTION
No. 25 UC Irvine Anteaters (5-1-2, 0-0-0 BWC)
UC Davis Aggies (4-4-1, 0-0-0 BWC)
No. 6 Cal State Northridge Matadors (8-1-0, 0-0-0 BWC)
UC Davis Aggies
Sunday, Oct. 6 – 3 p.m.
Aggie Soccer Field (1,000) – Davis, Calif.
DAVIS, Calif. – UC Davis begins defense of its Big West North Division title this week, at home, against the conference’s only two nationally ranked teams in No. 25 UC Irvine and No. 6 Cal State Northridge. The Aggies will face the Anteaters Friday afternoon in a 4 p.m. tilt, then host a rematch of the 2012 Big West Men’s Soccer Tournament, Sunday at 3 p.m., when the Matadors return to Aggie Soccer Field. Links for in-game Twitter updates, Gametracker and an internet radio broadcast provided by KDVS are available for both home events at ucdavisaggies.com.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Last week, UC Davis added another name to the list of nationally ranked teams that lost to the Aggies. The latest victim, No. 25 New Mexico, lost to UC Davis on its own field on Sept. 27 by a 2-1 score. The win marked the third straight season that UC Davis dispatched a ranked opponent. Past years have seen the Aggies defeat No. 6 UCLA (2011), No. 7 UC Irvine (2011), No. 23 Tulsa (2012), and No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (2012).
The Aggies will have two chances to lengthen this list when the team hosts new No. 25 UC Irvine and No. 6 Cal State Northridge.
Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni has earned the starting nod from head coach Dwayne Shaffer in the Aggies'’ last 49 consecutive matches. Entering this weekend’s action, Zeenni is tied for No. 8 in conference history for career matches in goal (60) and stands alone in No. 8 in minutes played (5,416).
STELLAR PLAY LEADS TO WEEKLY ACCOLADE
An outstanding performance by senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni, in one of the most difficult soccer environments in the nation, helped UC Davis defeat nationally ranked New Mexico, 2-1, and earn Big West Men's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week as announced by the conference office on Sept. 30.
Competing against a team that entered last Friday's match ranked No. 25 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire national poll, and No. 20 by Soccer America, Zeenni stopped a season-high seven Lobo shot attempts to help the Aggies leave Albuquerque with a win.
Even though the Aggies were outshot that night 18-4, Zeenni continued to make one clutch save after another as the game progressed. Midway through the second half, the Arcadia, Calif., native made two saves from point-blank range; the latter of the two initiated a UC Davis counterattack that ended with his teammate scoring the game-winning goal moments later.
The netminder's defensive accolades are the first earned by an Aggie this season; Zeenni was also the last student-athlete to receive defensive honors when the conference recognized him on Sept. 3, 2012.
Throughout his three-plus years at UC Davis, Zeenni has now been honored by the conference with its weekly distinction on five occasions.
AGGIES JOIN EXCLUSIVE LIST
By defeating New Mexico on its own field, UC Davis joined an exclusive list of teams that departed Albuquerque with a victory. In the 113 games hosted by UNM since its soccer complex opened in 2002, one of the most hostile in the nation, the Aggies handed the Lobos their 17th loss.
When they arrived to New Mexico, UC Davis took the field against a team that was nationally ranked since the third week of the 2011 season. Including that match, the Lobos were ranked for 46 straight matches; after the Aggies’ 2-1 win over the Lobos, UNM completely fell out of the NSCAA/Continental Tire’s national poll when the organized released its rankings on Oct. 1.
WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE
UC Davis begins its North Division title defense against another two ranked teams in UC Irvine and CSUN. Including victories earned in two of their three home events in 2013, the Aggies are 6-2-1 in their last nine played at Aggie Soccer Field.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Known for its suffocating defense, UC Davis has already competed in six one-goal contests out of its nine played this season. Of those six, the Aggies have won four of those matches.
Members from this current roster (Michael Garrick is the Aggie with the lengthiest tenure — he joined the team in 2009) have participated in 53 one-goal games, 28 of which ended with a 1-0 score.
HE SCORES, THEY WIN
On Sept. 15 against San Francisco, junior forward scored his second goal of the season to help his team sweep both matches played that week. Two of the three goals scored by Sheldon this season have been game-winners; his strike was also the difference in UC Davis' home opener against Seattle on Sept. 6.
WEST COAST (CONFERENCE) TOUR
The Aggies’ Sept. 27 match, at New Mexico, was the first against a non-West Coast Conference opponent since the Aggies hosted CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 8. Throughout its two-week stretch of action against the WCC, UC Davis earned its first victory in Moraga against Saint Mary's, faced San Diego, an elite eight team from the 2012 season, collected its first win in recorded history over San Francisco and earned a draw at Loyola Marymount, one of the toughest programs in the conference. Of its four matches played, UC Davis finished with a 2-1-1 mark.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
Senior midfielder Alex Aguiar leads the Aggies' attack this season with 23 shots, a team-high total that also ranks him sixth among Big West players.
SCOUTING NO. 25 UC IRVINE
Advancing to No. 25 in the NSCAA/Continental Tires most recent rankings, UC Irvine will visit Aggie Soccer Field in the conference opener for both teams.
Coming off a 3-0 victory against Cal State Bakersfield, UC Irvine has allowed only 21 shots on goal, the lowest total in the Big West. For the year, 48 of the Aggies’ 132 shots have been on goal.
All but one starter returns this season for head coach George Kuntz, a group that is responsible for two wins against ranked opponents in No. 11 UCLA and No. 16 Louisville.
Friday’s contest will also feature a battle of the Big West’s top goalkeepers in Omar Zeenni and Anteater netminder Michael Breslin. The only UC Irvine player to see action in all 850 of his team’s minutes played in 2013, Breslin arrives to Davis after notching his eighth career shutout.
Including a 3-2-2 home mark, UC Davis is 8-7-4 all-time against the Anteaters.
SCOUTING NO. 6 CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
CSUN opened the season with seven straight wins for the first time since the 1979 season. Due to that string of success, the Matadors received a No. 3 ranking at one point of the season, the first time that Cal State Northridge entered the top five in the school’s Division I history. At 8-1, the Matadors have also defeated eight non-conference opponents for the first time in school history.
Sunday’s league contest is a rematch of the 2012 Big West Men’s Soccer Championship game, one that saw the Aggies fall to the Matadors at home for only the third time in the program’s history. Even with that result, UC Davis still holds winning records against the Matadors at home, on the road, and lead the all-time series 7-5-2.
CSUN will start its Big West schedule Friday at Sacramento State.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
On Sept. 12, UC Davis earned its first victory in Moraga, Calif., with its 1-0 win at Saint Mary's. The victory evened the all-time series to 4-4-2 and gave the Aggies their first victory over the Gaels since 2010.
ZEENNI AMONG THE BIG WEST'S BEST
Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni is on the verge of etching his name on his second Big West career top 10 lists. He enters this weekend already ranked No. 9 all-time with a 0.98 career goals against average and needs another two shutouts to earn a spot on that list.
KEEPING `KEEPERS ON THEIR TOES
Outside of its matches against San Francisco and New Mexico, UC Davis has outshot all of its opponents this season. UC Davis' opponents have taken 40 fewer shots (92) compared to the Aggies who have recorded 132.
CONTINUING HIS CLIMB
With his back-to-back shutout efforts at Saint Mary's (9/12) and San Francisco (9/15), senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni is now No. 2 all time with 16 shutouts. Zeenni sits one shutout shy of matching the program record of 17 held by Nic Platter (2000-03).
This season, UC Davis men's soccer is:
0-0 against Big West teams
2-1 at home
2-3-1 on the road
0-0 in neutral site matches
1-0 against ranked opponents
3-4 in shutouts
4-2 in matches decided by one goal
0-2 in matches decided by two goals
0-0 in matches decided by three or more goals
0-0-1 in overtime
4-0-1 when UC Davis scores first
0-4 when opponents score first
4-0 leading at halftime
0-2 trailing at halftime
0-2-1 tied at halftime
2-4-1 when the Aggies outshoot opponents
1-0 when opponents outshoot the Aggies
1-0 when shots are tied
1-4 when the Aggies take more corner kicks
2-0-1 when opponents take more corner kicks than the Aggies
1-0 equal number or corner kicks
3-1 when the Aggies commit more fouls
1-3-1 when opponents commit more fouls
0-0 equal number of fouls
DISSECTING THE NUMBERS
Compared to their Big West counterparts, the Aggies possess the following totals (rankings in parentheses):
Shots: 132 (4)
Points: 16 (T-7)
Goals: 6 (7)
Goals Per Game: 0.67 (7)
Assists: 4 (8)
Assists Per Game: 0.44 (8)
Goals Allowed: 8 (T-1)
Goals Against Average: 0.87 (2)
Saves: 27 (6)
Shutouts: 3 (T-3)
Fouls: 99 (8)
Corners: 60 (1)
Offsides: 18 (5)
Entering this week's action, numerous Aggies possess top 10 totals in the Big West (rankings in parentheses):
Shots: Alex Aguiar – 23 (6)
Shots Per Game: Alex Aguiar – 2.56 (8)
Goals: Matt Sheldon – 3 (T-7)
Goals Per Game: Matt Sheldon – 0.33 (T-10)
Game-Winning Goals: Matt Sheldon – 2 (T-5)
Goals Against Average: Omar Zeenni – 0.87 (3)
Save Percentage: Omar Zeenni – .771 (3)
Saves: Omar Zeenni – 27 (T-5)
Saves Per Game: Omar Zeenni – 3.00 (T-5)
Shutouts: Omar Zeenni – 3 (3)
Shutouts Per Game: Omar Zeenni – 0.33 (4)
THE NEEDLE NOW POINTS IN OUR DIRECTION
By defeating Seattle in its home opener, UC Davis now holds the all-time series lead at 3-2-1. UC Davis and Seattle fought to a 1-1 tie in their last head-to-head meeting in 2011, a match that also took place at Aggie Soccer Field.
Other Aggie victories over the Redhawks took place in 2002 and 2003.
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 7-3-0 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
UC Davis hosted three non-conference matches before facing UC Irvine in its inaugural Big West contest of the year. After competing against Seattle and CSU Bakersfield as part of the Copa de Causeway tournament, UC Davis welcomed San Francisco to Aggie Soccer Field in its final non-conference home match.
Just like the 2012 campaign, UC Davis competed in six road events before facing the Anteaters; this year, the Aggies traveled to 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).
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.
Freshmen (9): Ryan Caro, Kirk Kappelhoff, Justin Kitts, Dashiell MacNamara, Logan Magonigal, Armando Quezada, Isaac Stuart, Spencer Williams, Connor Willis-Hong
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
Seniors (7): Alex Aguiar, Michael Garrick, Nick Grigoriev, Alex Henry, Elliott Hord, Kevin Schulte, Omar Zeenni
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
Midfielders (12): Alex Aguiar, Andre Brown, Eric Budniewski, Ryan Caro, Hoshang Hatifie, Elliott Hord, Kirk Kappelhoff, Justin Kitts, Logan Magonigal, Eddie Manella, Kevin Schulte, Isaac Stuart
Forwards (5): Michael Garrick, Nick Grigoriev, Dashiell MacNamara, Matt Sheldon, Matt Wiesenfarth
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
Oregon (1): Matt Sheldon
UC Davis will travel to Fullerton and Riverside for its inaugural conference road contests on:
Friday, Oct. 11: at Cal State Fullerton – 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 13: at UC Riverside – 2 p.m.