Oct. 17, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. -- -
KICK OFF: After splitting its first four matches of the Big West Conference season against South Division foes, the UC Davis men's soccer team (6-6-1 overall, 2-2 in the Big West) hosts a crucial test this weekend, opening North Division play on Saturday (Oct. 19) against UC Santa Barbara at 3 p.m. at the Aggie Soccer Field.
IN THE POLLS: UC Santa Barbara is ranked as high as No. 20 in the nation according to Soccer America and is the first team receiving votes in this week's NSCAA Coaches poll... the Gauchos are ranked No. 6 in the Far West Region according to the NSCAA... UC Davis is unranked in this week's polls.
BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in UC Davis Athletics by following us on Facebook (facebook.com/ucdavisaggies) and Twitter (@UCDavisAggies). Game Day updates are also available on Twitter... follow us @UCDavisInGame
"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": Live audio for Saturday afternoon's clash with the Gauchos will be available. Please visit the men's soccer schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com to access the link.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats for all UC Davis home games, as well as selected road contests are available for fans and followers, alike. Visit the men's soccer schedule page at www.UCDavisAggies.com to access the links.
UC SANTA BARBARA BRIEFLY: The Gauchos enter the weekend with a 9-4 overall record and a 4-0 mark in Big West Conference play after completing the sweep through the South Division last week with extra time road victories at Cal State Northridge (2-1 in overtime) and UC Irvine (2-1 in double overtime)... UCSB has won five-straight dating back to its last loss -- a nationally televised contest at Stanford in overtime on Sept. 27 -- three of those via the shutout... senior forward Achille Campion leads the Gauchos in scoring with five goals and a pair of assists (12 points) to go with a team-high 30 shots as 10 different players have found the back of the net... senior midfielder Goffin Boyoko, who is second on the team with nine points (four goals, one assist), has three game-winning scores this season... freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeely has started 11 of the team's 13 matches in net, posting a 0.69 goals against average and 33 saves to go with four shutouts.
SERIES NOTES: The Aggies are 4-10-2 all-time against the Gauchos dating back to 2004, but three of those four victories have come since UC Davis joined the Big West Conference in 2007... the Aggies swept the regular season series from UCSB in 2012, winning by a 1-0 count on Oct. 13 and ekeing out a 2-1 overtime victory on the road two weeks later... the sweep ended a six-match winning streak by UCSB... UC Davis is 2-5-1 against UC Santa Barbara at home, as the Aggies snapped a five-match winless streak against the Gauchos on their home pitch dating back to 2006 with their win last season.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The UC Davis men's soccer team wrapped up its trip through the Big West South Division with a split in Southern California, falling at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 11 by a 1-0 score before rebounding for a 2-0 victory at UC Riverside two days later. Nick Grigoriev finished with a team-high three shots on the night and senior keeper Omar Zeenni set a new school record (more on that later), but a fifth-minute strike by the Titans and some stout defense sent the Aggies to the loss. UC Davis finished with nine shots on the night (five on frame), but could not put one past Fullerton keeper Bryan Escalante, who made five saves in the win. Two nights later, Matt Wiesenfarth and Matt Sheldon each found the back of the net and redshirt freshman Armando Quezada recorded his first career shutout to lead the Aggies over the Highlanders.
THE BUCK STOPS HERE: Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni became UC Davis' career saves leader last week at Cal State Fullerton, making three stops against the Titans to give him 197 for his career and breaking Nic Platter's 10-year-old mark of 195 from 2000-03. His 17th shutout of the year at UC Riverside two nights later also has the Arcadia, Calif., native on the verge of a second career record, moving him into a tie for the top spot with Platter and into the Big West's all-time top 10, matching Fresno State's Chato Elgorriaga for the No. 10 spot.
ALL OR NOTHING: Each of the Aggies last four matches has ended in a shutout following their split in Southern California last weekend -- the 10th and 11th times in 13 matches this season that either side has not surrendered a goal.
WELCOME MATT: After a down year in 2012, junior Matt Wiesenfarth has regained the form that saw the Sacramento native earn Big West Conference Freshman of the Year honors and lead the team in scoring in 2011, netting his third goal in the Aggies' last five matches and adding an assist to help his side to a 2-0 win over Riverside. As he goes, so go the Aggies, as the team has won every match in which Wiesenfarth has scored a point this season.
IT "SHEL" BE "DON": Not to be outdone, junior forward Matt Sheldon came up with his team-best fourth goal of the season in last week's win at UC Riverside, giving him a team-high eight points on the year to pace the Aggies. It's a career high for Sheldon, who shared the team lead with eight points (3 goals, 2 assists) as a sophomore last season, and ranks him tied for ninth in the league entering the weekend.
WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Need a game-winning goal? Look no further than the Aggies' duo of Matt Wiesenfarth and Matt Sheldon, who have combined for 19 goals in their UC Davis careers -- 10 of those putting the home side in the win column. Wiesenfarth and Sheldon have two game-winners apiece this season.
THAT'S RANK: UC Santa Barbara will mark the fourth top-25 opponent for the Aggies this season as UC Davis looks to improve on it's 2-1 record in its three previous meetings with nationally ranked squads in 2013. The Aggies own wins over New Mexico (No. 25 at the team) and UC Irvine (also No. 25 at the time) while falling to No. 6 Cal State Northridge. The wins over the Lobos and Anteaters marked the third-straight season that UC Davis has posted a victory over a ranked opponent. Past victims include No. 6 UCLA (2011), No. 7 UC Irvine (2011), No. 23 Tulsa (2012), and No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (2012).
DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP)... DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP): Eight of the Aggies' 13 matches this season have been decided by one goal or less (including a 1-1 draw with LMU on Sept. 22) with UC Davis posting a 4-3-1 mark inthose contests. Members from this current roster (Michael Garrick is the Aggie with the lengthiest tenure - he joined the team in 2009) have participated in 54 one-goal games, 29 of which ended with a 1-0 score.
NATIONAL DEFENSE: Speaking of defense, the Aggies have a pretty good one, ranking among the nation's best in three categories: No. 40 in the NCAA in goals against average (0.83), No. 52 in shutout percentage (0.38), and No. 64 in save percentage (.788).
SOMEBODY'S GOTTA SCORE... RIGHT?: Saturday's match-up with the Gauchos will pit the Big West Conference's top two defenses as UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis have allowed the fewest goals in the league entering the weekend (11) and rank 1-2, respectively in goals against average (0.81 to 0.83). The contest will also pit two of the conference's top keepers against one another in the Gauchos' Josh McNeely and the Aggies' Omar Zeenni, who stand 1-2 in individual goals against average (0.69 to 0.91).
JUST SHOOT ME: The Aggies' offense has taken it to the opposition this season when it comes to the shot column, outshooting 10 of their 13 opponents in 2013 with only San Francisco and New Mexico holding the upper hand in that category thus far. UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton each finished with nine shots to account for the other match. The Aggies have outshot the opposition, 186-129, on the year and have allowed double-digit shots only six times.
"STAY ON TARGET...": Senior midfielder Alex Aguiar has put up a team-high 30 shots on the year and is averaging 2.31 shots per game to rank sixth and tied for eighth, respectively, in the Big West entering this weekend's clash.
DEFENDING REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS 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.
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.
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