UC Davis soccer forward Alex Henry scored with 31 seconds remaining in the first overtime to hand visiting UCLA a 2-1 setback Sunday evening at Aggie Soccer Stadium.
The Bruins are sixth-ranked in the nation by USA Today and No. 13 in the most recent NCAA poll.
A standing-room-only crowd of 1,050 watched the locals dominate play from halfway through the first half.
Just after intermission, Alex Aguiar put UCD on top with a knuckleball blast from 18 yards out. The squiqqly screamer fooled Bruin netminder Earl Edwards, who got both hands on the ball but allowed it to trinkle in for a 1-0 Aggie advantage.
So, was the overtime score the biggest goal of Henry’s career?
“Definitely. That was huge!” the sophomore from Poway High said, smiling and still accepting congratulations a half-hour after the contest. “I was making runs all game down the left side. I knew they’d get me the ball eventually.
“A great group of guys … and Jos (John Joslin) got the ball to me, I got it past a defender, looked up and couldn’t pass up on the shot.
“Finally got it on net … saw it going in! Oh, man…”
UCLA (0-2-1) had trouble solving the Davis counterattacks and the guest Bruins were being made to look less than their lofty ranking.
The Bruins, late in the game, looked finished when midfielder Ryan Lee lost his cool in a confrontation with UCD defender Ian Palmer. As Palmer walked away after fouling Lee, the Ohio State transfer pursued his competitor, pushed Palmer to his knees and continued a verbal assault.
Lee’s actions resulted in a red card and ejection at 82:15.
Up a man, the home crowd on its feet and time running out, disaster struck the Aggies.
Hoffman Chandler, a junior forward from Alabama, took a scintillating entry pass from Kelyn Rowe and beat goalie Omar Zeenni with a point-blank shot.
Otherwise, Zeenni was brilliant. Two acrobatic saves kept the Bruins off the scoreboard earlier in regulation. In all, he turned away four shots and his long return services into attack ground kept UCLA on its heels for most of the final half and overtime period.
The Aggies held firm, regrouped and took one of last year’s NCAA tournament final-eight teams into overtime before Henry finished them off.
The Aggies are now 1-1-1. Next up for the Davis men is Oregon State on Friday at UCD (2:30 p.m.) and Sunday versus Cal State Bakersfield (4 p.m.).
— Read more about this historic soccer victory — and see what awaits the Aggie soccer men during the remainder of the season in Tuesday’s Enterprise.