Friday, December 26, 2014
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 korendor@davisenterprise.net

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    Exchange students bring the world to Davis

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Pastor has many plans for CA House

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to campus

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Davis Bike Club hears about British cycling tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pick up a Davis map at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Special holiday gifts

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

    Woodland-Davis commute bus service expands

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Learn fruit tree tips at free class

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Explorit: Get a rise out of science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI meeting offers family support

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yoga, chanting intro offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Forum

    Blamed for her sister’s rage

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    How much for the calling birds?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Steve Sack cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    Many ensured a successful parade

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Thanks for putting food on the table

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Patterson is college football’s top coach

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Clippers get a win over Golden State

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    NBA roundup: Heat beat Cavs in LeBron’s return to Miami

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    James J. Dunning Jr.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Floyd W. Fenocchio

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, December 26, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7

     
    Comics: Thursday, December 26, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: A9