Friday, January 30, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD soccer teams have NCAA aspirations

By
From page B1 | November 01, 2011 |

UCD senior Aisha Lott controls the ball during a game against Pacific earlier this season. Back from injury, Lott will be key as the Aggies try to win the Big West tournament and earn a spot in the NCAA playoffs. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

As regular-season Big West soccer play comes to a close, neither UC Davis team is ready to hang up its cleats.

Both the Aggie men and women find themselves with legitimate shots to qualify for the NCAA playoffs. Their fates will be determined in the conference postseason tournaments, which feature the top four teams competing in a single-elimination format for a berth in the NCAAs.

The UCD women, who wrapped up Big West play with back-to-back losses, including a disappointing 4-1 defeat at Cal State Fullerton in Sunday’s finale, are seeded fourth in the conference tournament.

The Aggies (11-6-1 overall, 4-3-1 BWC) will travel south to face top-seeded UC Irvine at 7 p.m. Thursday. No. 3 Cal State Northridge plays at No. 2 Long Beach State at 2 p.m. Thursday in the other conference semifinal.

“This week was really difficult with challenges,” said UCD women’s head coach Maryclaire Robinson. “Life got in the way. Some people were sick; others had midterms. … It really humbled us a bit. We were on a five-game winning streak.

“Now is an opportunity for us to get healthy, to get a little more well-rested,” she continued. “(With the return of Aisha Lott from injury) this allows us the opportunity to be the team that we were early on. I’m less invested in what Irvine will bring and more invested in us fine-tuning our needs.”

Senior captains Lott, Rachel Kahn, Anna Quigley and Elise Winbrock, a Davis High graduate, have helped set the tone for the Aggies, who were picked to finish seventh in the eight-team conference before the season. Lisa Kemp and Allison Kelly also have provided solid leadership for UCD.

“We were really disappointed after the 2009 season,” Robinson said. “That’s when we took these steps toward change. Last year, we were right there. From last year to this year, it’s a collection of small evolutions. Now, we’re realizing these goals.”

While success in Big West play is always the most important thing, the Aggies hoped setting and fulfilling a few early goals — such as beating University of Pacific, UNLV and Sacramento State — would get them on the right track. UCD held off Sac State, 1-0 on Aug. 28; shut out UNLV, 2-0 on Sept. 11; and topped Pacific, 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 13.

“It’s been very powerful to watch,” Robinson said. “Winning begets winning.”

Meanwhile, the Aggie men’s squad is right where head coach Dwayne Shaffer wanted them to be — in position to participate in the Big West tournament and possibly earn the NCAA berth.

“We’re on course to achieve our goal,” Shaffer said. “We need to get a win Wednesday (against Cal State Fullerton at 3 p.m.).”

Heading into Wednesday, UCD (7-7-2, 5-3-0) sits in second place with 15 points, just one point behind UC Irvine (13-5-1, 5-3-1). The Aggies have two regular-season games remaining: Wednesday’s Senior Appreciation game against Fullerton (1-5-2) and a Saturday contest at the Big West’s third-place squad, UC Riverside (4-3-2).

The conference tournament opens Nov. 9 with the No. 1 and 2 seeds playing host to the No. 4 and 3 seeds, respectively.

“I think we’ve surprised a lot of teams, not only in the Big West,” Shaffer said. “We’ve played an extremely tough schedule.”

UCD posted early wins over UCLA (2-1 in OT) and Oregon State (1-0, double overtime) in two of the nine overtime games the Aggies have played already this fall. The tough schedule and hard-fought matches have toughened up the young UCD squad.

The Aggies have two true freshmen starting on defense: Brian Ford of Newport Beach, who has been in the lineup for every game this season, and Ramon Martin Del Campo of Chula Vista, who has started nearly every conference match. On the offensive side, freshman Matt Wiesenfarth, a Jesuit graduate, leads the team in scoring.

“(As a team), we are meeting our expectations,” Shaffer said. “And our freshmen are definitely exceeding them. True freshmen don’t usually start right away. Any time you get a freshman that scores goals, that’s a good sign.”

The youthful Aggies aren’t totally devoid of experienced players. Lance Patterson, a senior from Aurora, Colo., who spent the past two seasons playing forward, is back at his original position, center defender, in 2011 and thriving. Junior Mustafa Chopan provides additional experience at center midfielder as well as smarts — the neurobiology, physiology and behavior major carries a 4.0 GPA.

UCD goalie Omar Zeenni, a sophomore from Arcadia, saw a lot of playing time last year as a true freshman and it’s paying off. The two-time Big West Defensive Player of the Week has 53 saves this season.

“The experience has helped by keeping us calm,” Shaffer said. “There is also the retention factor. All the things they’ve been taught, all the things they’ve learned, it’s like second nature to them.”

Providing additional consistency to the Aggie lineup are midfielders Alex Aguiar, Kevin Schulte and Alex Henry, and forward John Joslin.

Notes: Schulte was selected to the Soccer America Men’s Team of the Week for Oct. 17-23, joining 11 Division I players from across the country. It’s the sophomore from Riverside’s second honor from a national publication, as Schulte also was chosen as CollegeSoccer360.com’s Primetime Player of the Week. … In Sunday’s loss to Fullerton, the UCD women got their lone goal from freshman Reagan Dolan. Despite the loss, the Aggies have 11 wins this season, their most since 2002.

— Reach Kim Orendor at [email protected]

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Town hall focuses on Coordinated Care Initiative

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Schools give parents tools to help kids thrive

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Suspected Ebola patient being treated at UCD Med Center

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Stanford University to get $50 million to produce vaccines

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Two more cases of measles in Northern California in children

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Dartmouth bans hard liquor

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

     
    Great Chefs Program will feature Mulvaney

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Free tax preparation service begins Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

    No bare bottoms, thanks to CommuniCare’s Diaper Drive

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Still time to purchase tickets for DHS Cabaret

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    All voices welcome at sing-along Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    February science fun set at Explorit

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Take a photo tour of Cuba at Flyway Nights talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    See wigeons, curlews and meadowlarks at city wetlands

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Time for bed … with Grandma

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    A ‘new deal’ for the WPA building

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Protect root zone to save trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Weigh quality of life, density

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Olive expert joins St. James event

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We’re grateful for bingo proceeds

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    UCD has another tough football schedule in 2015

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Gould’s influence felt mightily in recent Super Bowls

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Mustangs hold off UCD women

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD men set new school D-I era win record

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sharks double up Ducks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Watney, Woods start slow at TPC Scottsdale

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Recall that first Aggie TV game, national title?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Artist’s Connection’ launches on DCTV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Song of the Sea’ is an enchanting fable

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Gross’ paintings highlight a slice of Northern California

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    February show at YoloArts’ Gallery 625 is ‘Food for Thought’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, January 30, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: A9