Oct. 30, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. -
KICK OFF: The UC Davis men’s soccer team (6-8-2 overall, 2-4-1 in the Big West Conference) enters the regular season stretch run looking to snap a three-game winless streak on the road this weekend, heading south to No. 14 UC Santa Barbara for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Harder Stadium on Saturday (Nov. 2).
IN THE POLLS: UC Santa Barbara is ranked as high as No. 14 in the nation by Soccer America and Top Drawer Soccer and stands at No. 16 in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America... The Gauchos also stand at No. 4 in the Far West Region according to the NSCAA... UC Davis is unranked entering the week.
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 by following us @UCDavisInGame.
“CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”: Live audio courtesy of UC Santa Barbara, as well as a live video feed courtesy of Big West TV, will be available for Saturday afternoon’s clash with the Gauchos. Please visit the men’s soccer schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com to access the links.
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 UCDavisAggies.com to access the links.
UC SANTA BARBARA BRIEFLY: The Gauchos enter the weekend with an 11-4-1 overall record and an almost-perfect 6-0-1 mark in Big West Conference play, with the only “blemish” a 1-1 draw at Cal Poly last week... UC Santa Barbara is unbeaten in its last eight contests (7-0-1), having not lost since a 2-1 setback at Stanford on Sept. 27... the Gauchos have outscored the opposition, 16-6, during their most-recent unbeaten run, including three shutouts... UCSB is 6-3 at home this season, winning its last four... Achille Campion, who had the game-tying goal against UC Davis in the first meeting on Oct. 19, leads the team in scoring with seven goals and 16 points and is one of three players (Goffin Boyoka and Ismaila Jones) are also in double figures in points with 13 and 10, respectively... freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeeley has posted a league-best 0.80 goals against average and 43 saves to go with four shutouts in 14 starts this season.
AGGIES VS. GAUCHOS: The Aggies are 4-11-2 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... UC Santa Barbara has won seven of the last nine in the series with UC Davis sweeping the regular season series from the Gauchos in 2012... The Aggies are 2-6-1 all-time in Santa Barbara, snapping a three-game skid with a 2-1 win in overtime last sesaon... four of the nine matches at UCSB have gone to overtime with UC Davis posting a 1-2-1 mark in those contests.
BIG WEST TOURNEY PICTURE: After the first round of division play, the third-place Aggies have a tenious hold on one of three playoff spots for the upcoming Big West Conference Tournament with three matches remaining, leading fourth-place Sacramento State by four points, but stand just one point back of second-place Cal Poly and a host’s role for the first round. The second-place teams from each division will host the third-place teams from the opposition division on Nov. 12 with the winners advancing to meet the top-seeded squads in the semifinals on Nov. 15. The Big West Tournament championship will be contested on Nov. 17 by the highest remaining seed or the team from the division with the most points in games against the opposite division should the seedings be equal.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The first trip through the Big West Conference North Division came to a heartbreaking end, escaping San Luis Obispo with a point after a last-minute equalizer before suffering one-goal loss to Sacramento State. Redshirt freshman Dashiell MacNamara netted his second goal of the season in the 36th minute for the early lead, but a late equalizer with less than five minutes to play in regulation forced overtime and tough defense in the two extra time periods forged the draw. Four days later, in front of a capacity “Senior Day” crowd, the Aggies were stung in regulation by rival Sacramento State as a 37th-minute, seat-of-his-pants, strike by Isaac Ikyurav lifted the Hornets to their first conference win of the year. UC Davis held a 16-7 shot advantage -- including a 12-3 lead in the second half -- but could not dent the back of the net.
THAT’S RANK: This week’s contest against UC Santa Barbara will mark the Aggies’ fifth against a nationally ranked opponent this season, looking to improve on a 2-2 record in their four previous contests this year, but aiming to snap a two-match losing skid after falling to then-No. 6 Cal State Northridge on Oct. 6 and then-No. 20 UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 19. Overall, the 2013 season marked the third-straight year that UC Davis has dispatched a ranked opponent, a string that has included wins over No. 6 UCLA (2011), No. 7 UC Irvine (2011), No. 23 Tulsa (2012), and No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (2012).
EARLY BIRDS: Good things have happened to the Aggies when they get on the board first this season, posting an unbeaten 6-0-2 record in such contests and a just as impressive 6-0-1 mark when they lead at the break in 2013. Those streaks grow to 15-straight and 11-straight, respectively, dating back to Sept. 9, 2012, against Central Florida after the Knights scored three times in the second half to erase UC Davis’ 1-0 lead at the break.
WIESENFARTH COMING UP BIG IN BIG WEST PLAY: Following a slow start to the 2013 season, junior Matt Wiesenfarth has come up big for the Aggies since the start of Big West play, accounting for seven of his team-high nine points in the team’s seven conference contests. His four goals this season are just one shy of his career high of five set during a banner rookie campaign when he was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year, an All-Big West Second-Team selection, and a College Soccer News Freshman All-American (Second Team).
WHO’S NEXT?: Each of UC Davis’ last four scores have come via the feet of four different players with Matt Sheldon, Matt Wiesenfarth, Alex Aguiar, and Dashiell MacNamara each finding the back of the net. That’s a diverse group considering that only five Aggies total have combined for the team’s 13 scores this season.
GENTLEMEN AND SCHOLARS: And the sportsmanship award goes to... It very well may be UC Davis in 2013 as the Aggies have racked up the fewest fouls and fewest yellow cards in the Big West entering the weekend. UC Davis’ 191 fouls are 93 fewer than league leader UC Santa Barbara (284) while the 24 cards are tied with Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine for the fewest, trailing the Gauchos’ total of 41.
CORNERING THE MARKET: Nobody puts the Aggies into a corner... but they haven’t seemed to mind it one bit. UC Davis leads the Big West with 104 corners this season -- 19 better than second-place UC Irvine -- controlling possession and putting pressure on opposing defenses all year. The Aggies have reached double digits in corners in four matches this season -- including a season-high 12 (to go with a 19-9 shot advantage) in a 2-0 loss to Cal State Northridge on Oct. 6.
THANK YOU, FANS!: The UC Davis faithful have come out in force in each of the team’s last two home contests, filling the stands to a capacity crowd of 1,175 against both UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 19 and Sacramento State on Oct. 26. The two matches marked the sixth time in the last 14 home contests that the Aggies have drawn better than 1,000 to provide a true “home field advantage.”
DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP)... DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP): 11 of the Aggies’ 16 matches this season have been decided by one goal or less (including a 1-1 draw with LMU on Sept. 22 and a 1-1 draw at Cal Poly last week) with UC Davis posting a 4-5-2 mark in those contests. Members from this current roster (Michael Garrick is the Aggie with the lengthiest tenure – he joined the team in 2009) have participated in 56 one-goal games, 30 of which ended with a 1-0 score.
SPEAKING OF DEFENSE: With the offense taking center stage in their first meeting back on Oct. 19, the respective defenses of UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara will look to regain control in this weekend’s clash. The Gauchos and Aggies rank among the top squads in the league in fewest goals allowed with 15 and 16, respectively, and stand first and third in goals against average at 0.88 and 0.96, respectively. With a stingy backline in front of him, the Gauchos’ defense has been paced by freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeely, who is first in the league in goals against average (0.80), second in save percentage (.782), and second in shutouts (4).
GOALS WANTED: While the Aggies’ 16 goals allowed are among the fewest in the Big West, UC Davis’ offense has struggled to find a groove. The Aggies’ 13 goals scored are the second fewest in the league behind only Causeway Cup rival Sacramento State, which netted only its ninth goal of the season in its 1-0 victory over UC Davis last weekend. If the season ended today, the 13 goals would be the fewest since moving to Division I in 2007-08 and the fewest since 1990, when complete year-by-year records are available.
THE BUCK STOPS HERE: Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni became UC Davis’ career saves leader on Oct. 11 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. After sitting out matches against UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara, he returned last week against Cal Poly and Sacramento State to extend his record to 206 stops with nine combined saves, including six stops against the Mustangs -- just one shy of his season high of seven set at No. 25 New Mexico in a 2-1 win on Sept. 27. With three regular-season matches remaining (in addition to any possible Big West tournament and NCAA matches), Zeenni needs 45 more saves to make Fresno State’s Mark Dougherty for 10th on the Big West’s all-time chart.
CLEAN SHEETS: Zeenni’s 17th shutout of the year against nationally ranked UC Irvine on Oct. 4 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 TIED UP: Last week’s draw at Cal Poly kept UC Davis winless in overtime this season (0-1-2) and marked the eighth time in its last 10 overtime matches that the Aggies have emerged with a tie. UC Davis has not posted an overtime win since a 2-1 victory at UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 28 of last season and are 25-19-33 (.539) in overtime under Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer since 1997.
“STAY ON TARGET...”: Senior midfielder Alex Aguiar has put up a team-high 34 shots on the year and is averaging 2.12 shots per game to rank tied for seventh and ninth, respectively, in the Big West entering this week’s matches.
GUESS WHO’S BACK... BACK AGAIN...: It certainly seems that 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 (5 goals, 3 assists) in 2011.
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 20 goals in their UC Davis careers -- 10 of those putting the home side in the win column. Wiesenfarth and Sheldon share team-high honors with two game-winners apiece this season.
JUST SHOOT ME: While the defense has been stout, the Aggies’ offense has taken it to the opposition this season when it comes to the shot column, outshooting 12 of their 16 opponents in 2013 with only San Francisco, New Mexico, and Cal Poly, holding the upper hand in that category thus far (UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton each finished with nine shots on Oct. 11 to account for the other match). The Aggies have outshot the opposition, 225-163, on the year and have allowed double-digit shots only seven times.
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