The Aggies men’s soccer team got off to a rocky start in six non-conference games

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UC Davis’ late rally falls short against San Jose State, leaving them 0-5-1

By MARLON ROLON — [email protected]

On Wednesday, September 14, the UC Davis men’s soccer team took on San Jose State at Aggie Soccer Field. Although they were down 3-0 in the first half, the Aggies fought back with two late goals in the second half, but they came close to leveling the game.

Coming into the game, the Aggies needed to be on offense early, but they weren’t. They started playing defensively, with San Jose State dominating early in the first half. The Spartans controlled the pace of the game early on, knocking UC Davis off the ball with their fast passing.

In the first half, the Aggies could generate little offense against a tight Spartan defense that shattered almost every play the home side attempted. In attack, the Spartans extended the field with their superb ball placement on the wings which also caused problems for the home team.

However, in the fifth minute of play, Aggie freshman forward Chase Tanon brilliantly curved a shot from outside the box, narrowly missing the top post. Spartans midfielder, graduate student Herminio Padilla, immediately responded with a lob pass across the field to freshman striker Riccardo Scarafia, who cut inside the field in a one-on-one maneuver. head, creating enough space to kick the ball into the net. . In the first seven minutes of the first half, UC Davis led 1-0.

The goal gave momentum to the visiting team, playing team ball patiently all the way up the field, countering whenever the Aggies pressed. In the 27th minute, San Jose State capitalized on an error made by the UC Davis defense, scoring a second goal. The Aggies attempted to move to the backfield when Spartans third-year defenseman Joel Garcia stole a failed pass in a three-on-one scenario. Garcia cut off traffic and put the ball in the center of the net to make it 2-0.

The Aggies could not contain the Spartans’ offensive; just under 10 minutes later, San Jose found the back of the net. The goal came from a header from a well-placed corner; Sophomore midfielder Beau Leroux placed the ball perfectly near the left post to give San Jose State a 3-0 lead.

UC Davis looked deflated at the end of the first half. The Spartans’ dominance was evident in the stats; San Jose State shot nine times against two shots by the Aggies.

Coming together as a team has been a problem for the Aggies so far this season – growing pains are to be expected with 13 new arrivals.

Heading into the second half, the Aggies needed a miracle to close their initial deficit. UC Davis head coach Dwayne Shaffer swapped goaltenders, replacing sophomore Spencer Gillen with redshirt sophomore Charles Janssen in hopes of keeping the opposition from scoring. The change paid off and the home team looked like a completely different side in the second half.

The Aggies came out with a sense of urgency, something they lacked in the first 45 minutes of play. In the first two minutes of the second half, sophomore forward Keegan Walwyn-Bent made his presence with a brilliant shot that sent the Spartans keeper diving to get his hands on it, sending the ball out of bounds.

From there, UC Davis took control of the game, finding success from the attacking wings with crosses and long passes throughout the second half. Eventually, the Aggies got on the scoreboard in the 68th minute thanks to a pinpoint lob pass from third-year forward Ethan Hoard to second-year midfielder Kevin Welch. Seeing a two-on-one scenario, Welch drew the goaltender towards him and passed brilliantly to fourth-year Max Glasser, who tapped the ball into the net to make it 3-1.

The goal broke a scoreless drought for UC Davis, which hadn’t scored since Sept. 4. After scoring, the Aggies looked rejuvenated. The attack played with high intensity, pushing the ball into Spartan territory and threatening the defense with crosses inside the box in the closing minutes.

In the 69th minute, UC Davis missed a crucial scoring opportunity that could have changed the outcome of the game. Glasser used his speed to cut into the right side of the box and crossed the ball over third-year midfielder Ryan Dieter less than five feet from goal, but Dieter missed the shot wide open.

The last 11 minutes of regulation were arguably the best 11 minutes the Aggies have played so far this season. Dieter crossed the ball beautifully towards the far post in the box, but the goalkeeper managed to sweep the ball away before the Aggies could head it.

Three minutes later, UC Davis threatened to score again. This time, Hoard headed the ball into the crossbar. Dieter tried to shoot the rebound, but his shot was deflected by a defender.

In the 82nd minute, the Ags scored their second goal of the game thanks to a fantastic finish from freshman defenseman Zack Lillington — the goal was his first at the college level. UC Davis cut the score 3-2, but there was not enough time on the clock to tie the game.

San Jose State delayed the Aggies’ late rally when the deadline expired. With the loss, UC Davis extended its winless streak in non-conference play. They now sit 0-5-1 with two non-conference games on their schedule.

UC Davis is going through a transition phase due to the departures of 15 players. Some of last year’s graduates were key parts of the team that made an appearance in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, their only appearance in program history. With 13 new additions and 15 returning players, it will take some time for players to gel with each other. Additionally, the Aggies are a young team with 11 freshmen, and their lack of experience has been evident on the field thus far.

As the season progresses, the relatively young group will hopefully gain confidence and valuable experience. There’s still time to right the ship, but they need to start stringing the wins as soon as possible if they plan to finish in the Big West Conference’s top three, as they did. predicted by a survey of pre-season coaches.

A look ahead

UC Davis will be on the road starting Sept. 20 against University of the Pacific. Next, the Aggies travel to Santa Clara on Sept. 24 to complete their non-conference run.

UC Davis will host the first conference game of the season against Cal Poly on September 28. On Oct. 1, the Aggies travel to Riverside to take on UCR. The Aggies will host UC Irvine on October 5 and on October 8, UC Davis will travel to Northridge to play against CSUN. On October 12 and 15, the Aggies will host home games against CSU Bakersfield and Cal State Fullerton. UC Davis will hit the road again to play against UC Santa Barbara on October 19. The Aggies will host the final home game of the season on Oct. 22 against UC San Diego and close out the season on the road against their crosstown. competes against Sacramento State on Oct. 29.

Written by: Marlon Rolon — [email protected]

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