The race for the Big West Conference North Division title got closer Wednesday as the UC Davis men’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to Cal Poly at Aggie Soccer Field.
UCD (8-6-4 overall, 6-3 BWC) remains on top of the North Division standings with 18 points. However, Cal Poly received three points with the win and is now tied with Sacramento State, which lost to UC Santa Barbara, with 16 points apiece.
An Aggie win Saturday against the Causeway rival Hornets would guarantee UCD the No. 1 seed in the North Division. The Aggies also can clinch the top seed in the event of a tie coupled with a Cal Poly loss. The Mustangs host UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.
Mackenzie Pridham scored the lone goal of the game, putting the Mustangs up 1-0 off an assist by Chris Geschen. Geschen made a run through the left side — finding his way through two UCD defenders — before slotting a pass across the middle to a trailing Pridham, who one-touched the ball into the back of the net.
In the first half, both teams combined for eight shots with Cal Poly taking a slim 5-3 shot advantage.
The Aggies increased their offensive intensity in the second half. After the Cal Poly goal, Alex Aguiar fired consecutive shots in the 59th and 61st minutes, but the first went wide and the second was saved by Mustang goalkeeper Wade Hamilton.
In the 72nd minute, Mustafa Chopan made a run down the left sideline and sent a cross in the air across the goal. Kevin Schulte’s one-touch volley landed just on the outside of the left post.
UCD keeper Omar Zeenni stepped up with a huge save in the 78th minute. Greschen took a hard shot from just outside the 18 yard box, but Zeenni stepped in front of it and deflected it up and over the crossbar and out of play.
At the 84:20 mark, Aguiar made another attempt on Hamilton, taking a hard shot from the top of the penalty area that glanced off a Cal Poly defender. Hamilton made an outstretched save to his right and deflected the ball away, but the rebound came back to Alex Henry. He attempted a long shot, but Hamilton scooped it up.
The Aggies take Sacramento State in the final regular season game at 3 p.m. Saturday Aggie Soccer Field. Saturday also marks Senior Day for Chopan, John Joslin and Ethan Shawlee.