Aggies Host Highlanders in Big West First Round

Junior Matt Sheldon is one of eight Aggies to earn All-Big West Conference honors for 2013.
 
Junior Matt Sheldon is one of eight Aggies to earn All-Big West Conference honors for 2013.
 

Nov. 11, 2013

DAVIS, Calif. -

THIS WEEK...
Big West Conference Men's Soccer Tournament - First Round
UC Riverside (9-7-3, 4-5-1) at UC Davis (8-8-3, 4-4-2)
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 | 2 p.m.
Aggie Soccer Field
Davis, Calif.
Game Coverage:
Gametracker | Live Audio 

KICK OFF: The “second season” for the UC Davis men’s soccer team begins within the friendly confines of the Aggie Soccer Field this week as the second-seeded Aggies (8-8-3 overall, 4-4-2 in the Big West Conference) host third-seeded UC Riverside in the first round of the 2013 Big West Men’s Soccer Tournament on Tuesday (Nov. 12) at 2 p.m.

TOURNEY SCHEDULE: A complete schedule for the 2013 Big West Men’s Soccer Tournament:

Tuesday, Nov. 12
UC Riverside (S3) at UC Davis (N2), 2 p.m.
Cal Poly (N3) at Cal State Northridge (S2), 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 15
Cal State Northridge/Cal Poly at UC Santa Barbara (N1), 7 p.m.
UC Riverside/UC Davis at UC Irvine (S1), 7 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 17
Championship at Highest Remaining Seed, 2 p.m.

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Riverside, nor UC Davis, are ranked among the top 25 in the national polls 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 will be available for Tuesday’s first-round match with UC Riverside as Sean Steimel and Brandon O’Shea will have the call on 90.3 KDVS. 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.

“O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!”: Omar Zeenni, Alex Aguiar, and Kevin Schulte have been named team captains for the Aggies for 2013.

UC RIVERSIDE BRIEFLY: The Highlanders defeated Cal State Fullerton, 3-2, in come-from-behind fashion on Saturday night to earn the No. 3 seed out of the South Division and a trip to Davis... UC Riverside is 9-7-3 overall and 4-5-1 in Big West Conference play, having won three of their last four... the Highlanders are just 2-4-2 on the road this season, but have won two-straight over the Titans on Oct. 26 and No. 13 Cal State Northridge on Nov. 2... senior forward Ivan Garcia, who started the comeback against Fullerton on Saturday with UCR’s first goal of the match, shares the team lead in goals (3) and points (8) with teammate Romario Lomeli... goalkeeper K.C. John (12 starts, 1.44 GAA, 41 saves) and Ashkan Khosravi (7 starts, 0.98 GAA, 29 saves) have both seen significant time between the pipes, combining for seven shutouts in 19 matches.

AGGIES VS. HIGHLANDERS: UC Davis is a combined 12-3-1 all time against UC Riverside dating back to 2004, including a 2-0 victory earlier this year in the Inland Empire... the Aggies are unbeaten in their last five meetings with the Highlanders (4-0-1) -- including three consecutive wins -- dating back to a 1-0 loss on the road in 2010... UC Davis is a perfect 8-0 against UC Riverside at home in the series... the Aggies and Highlanders have battled to overtime three times with UC Davis posting a 2-0-1 mark in those contests... Of the 16 all-time meetings, 13 have been deicded by a single goal with a 1-1 draw in 2011 thrown in for good measure.

DAVIS IN THE TOURNAMENT: This season will mark the third-straight appearance (fourth overall) for the Aggies in the Big West Conference Tournament, who are one season removed from winning the North Division and reaching the championship match in 2012... UC Davis is 1-3 all-time in the Big West Tournament, posting its first win last season with a 2-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the first semifinal before falling to Cal State Northridge, 1-0, in the championship at home... the Aggies are 1-1 at home in Big West Tournament matches with both results coming last season.

Previous Results:
2008 - UC Irvine 1, UC Davis 0 (at Irvine, Calif.)
2011 - UC Santa Barbara 2, UC Davis 1 (at Santa Barbara, Calif.)
2012 - UC Davis 2, Cal State Fullerton 0 (at Davis, Calif.); Cal State Northridge 1, UC Davis 0 (at Davis, Calif.)

THE WEEK THAT WAS: A beat-the-clock winner by junior Matt Sheldon and a first-half strike from teammate Matt Wiesenfarth helped lift UC Davis to a perfect 2-0 week as the Aggies defeated Cal Poly and Sacramento State to clinch a berth in this week’s Big West Tournament. Wiesenfarth and Sheldon had a flair for the dramatic in the week’s opener, each scoring in the final five minutes of regulation to lift UC Davis to the, 2-1, victory. Three days later, the offense took control early against the Hornets to the tune of an 11-1 first-half shot advantage and Wiesenfarth’s second goal of the week midway through the first half was all the Aggies would need to shutout their Causeway rivals, 1-0, in Sacramento.

WELCOME MATTS: Juniors Matt Sheldon and Matt Wiesenfarth have become the Aggies “dynamic duo” in 2013, combining for 12 of the team’s 17 goals, including all three of UC Davis’ scores this past weekend against Cal Poly and Sacramento State to help the Aggies clinch the Big West Tournament’s No. 2 berth and three game-winning goals apiece. The duo traded spots in the quest for the team lead this past weekend, each entering the tournament with six goals on the season -- the most for an Aggie since Lance Patterson finished with the same number and 13 points overall in 2010.

#WINNING: More from Sheldon and Wiesenfarth. If the Aggies need a game-winner, you need look no further than these two, who have combined for 23 career goals in their two-plus seasons -- 12 of those putting UC Davis in the win column, including both matches this past weekend and in each of the Aggies’ last three victories overall. With Sheldon’s goal against Cal Poly earlier in the week, UC Davis improved to 4-0-2 this season when the junior from Portland, Ore., has found the back of the net and, following Saturday’s win in Sacramento, 5-1 when Wiesenfarth has scored this season.

BACK-TO-BACK: Wins over the Mustangs and Hornets -- the team’s first since its 2-0 win over UC Riverside on Oct. 13 -- gave UC Davis back-to-back victories for only the third time this season and the first since the Aggies upset nationally ranked New Mexico and UC Irvine on Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 earlier this year.

COMEBACK KIDS: Late goals by Sheldon and Wiesenfarth on Nov. 6 against Cal Poly rallied the Aggies to a, 2-1, win over the Mustangs in their regular season home finale, gaving UC Davis its first win this season when the opponent scored first (0-8 in previous contests) and when trailing at halftime (0-6).

OH MY, OMAR: Everybody loves clean sheets, especially senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni, who tallied his 18th career shutout in the regular season finale at Sacramento State, breaking Nic Platter’s all-time school record and moving Zeenni into a tie for 10th on the Big West Conference’s career list with Fresno State’s Chato Elgorriaga.

THE BUCK STOPS HERE: It is the second career record at UC Davis for Zeenni, who became the Aggies’ 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 Platter’s 10-year-old mark of 195 from 2000-03. After missing UC Davis’ game at UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 2 due to a red card, Zeenni responded with six saves over his last two matches to give him 215 for his career -- just 36 back of Fresno State’s Mark Dougherty for 10th on the Big West’s all-time chart.

THEY COME IN BUNCHES: UC Davis’ 2-1 win over Cal Poly last week marked only the fifth time this season that the Aggies’ offense has scored multiple goals in a match and the first time since a, 3-2, double overtime loss on Oct. 19 against UC Santa Barbara.

TWO IS A COINCIDENCE, THREE IS A TREND: Three goals combined in their matches last week against Cal Poly and Sacramento State gave the Aggies goals in each of their last three matches -- tied for the longest streak this season set from Sept. 22-Oct. 4 and later matched from Oct. 13-22.

SOMETHING’S... OFF: With the No. 2 seed on the line against Cal Poly last week, the UC Davis offense applied pressure on the Mustangs defense all afternoon, but were whistled for seven offside calls in a match that featured 16 combined. The seven offsides are tied for the most this season, matching the mark set on Sept. 27 at New Mexico.

EARLY BIRDS: Good things have happened to the Aggies when they get on the board first this season, posting an unbeaten 7-0-3 record in such contests and a just-as-impressive 7-0-1 mark when they lead at the break in 2013. Those streaks grow to 17-straight and 12-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.

DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP)... DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP): 14 of the Aggies’ 19 matches this season have been decided by one goal or less (including 1-1 draws with LMU on Sept. 22, at Cal Poly on Oct. 22, and last week at UC Santa Barbara) with UC Davis posting a 6-5-3 mark in those contests.

“STAY ON TARGET...”: Senior midfielder Alex Aguiar has put up a team-high 38 shots on the year and is averaging 2.00 shots per game to rank tied for eighth and 10th, respectively, in the Big West entering this week’s matches. After a big offensive weekend, Matt Sheldon has joined him in the top 10, ranking 10th with 36 shots on the 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 14 of their 19 opponents in 2013 with only San Francisco, New Mexico, Cal Poly, and UC Santa Barbara, 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, 267-192, on the year and have allowed double-digit shots only eight times.

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 110 corners this season -- six better than second-place UC Santa Barbara -- 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.

GOALS WANTED: While the Aggies’ 18 goals allowed are among the fewest in the Big West (tied for second), UC Davis’ offense has struggled to find a groove with only five players accounting for the team’s 17 goals this season -- the second fewest in the league behind only Causeway Cup rival Sacramento State (11). If the season ended today, the 17 goals would be the fewest since moving to Division I in 2007-08 (18 in 2010-11) and the fewest since 1990, when complete year-by-year records are available.

IT’S GETTING LATE...: It may be a school night, but make sure you’re in your seats until the very end. In five of UC Davis’ last nine contests the game-tying goal has been scored in the final 10 minutes of the contest, including an equalizer with 56 seconds remaining in regulation against UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 19 and the eventual game-winner by the Gauchos with 55 seconds left in the second overtime period. In all, opponents have scored five times in the final 10 minutes this season (not including overtime) while the Aggies have had just three goals scored that late, a strike by Matt Wiesenfarth in the 87th minute of a 2-0 win over No. 25 UC Irvine on Oct. 4 and both of the team’s scores against Cal Poly on Nov. 6.

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE: With Tuesday’s tournament match against UC Riverside looming on the horizon, UC Davis will be looking to finish with a winning home record for the fourth consecutive season. Last Wednesday’s win over Cal Poly evened the Aggies mark at the Aggie Soccer Field at 4-4 and has, indeed, been the friendly confines for the home side as the Aggies are a combined 89-43-13 (.659) at home in 17 seasons under the direction of Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer. UC Davis hasn’t suffered a losing season at home since 2009 (3-4). 

THAT’S RANK: UC Davis’ draw at UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 2 moved the Aggies to 2-2-1 against nationally ranked competition this season, but kept them winless in their last three after falling to then-No. 6 Cal State Northridge on Oct. 6 and then-No. 20 UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 19. Overall, 2013 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).

THAT’S FOUL!: Bruise or be bruised. That seemed to be the motto on Nov. 2 in Santa Barbara as the Aggies and Gauchos combined for a 54 fouls on the night (28-26 in favor of UCSB) -- season high’s for UC Davis in both combined fouls and team fouls -- and the most for the Aggies since they committed 27 against Sacramento State on Sept. 23, 2011. It’s a bit of an abberation for UC Davis, which entered the night with the fewest fouls in the league (191 - 93 fewer than UC Santa Barbara) entering the night.

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.