Enterprise staff writer
The UC Davis menÕs soccer team hasnÕt done a very good job of taking its chances early in games this year, and head coach Dwayne Shaffer wouldnÕt mind if his team learned the trait.
But as long as the Aggies continue to end up on the right side of the scoreline, Shaffer isnÕt going to complain.
UCD needed overtime for the second straight game, but again had a defender head in the golden Ñ and only Ñ goal in the extra period. This time, sophomore Ethan Shawlee knocked in a cross from Elliott Hord with just under two minutes to play for the first goal of his career, lifting
the Aggies to a 1-0 victory over Cal State Northridge on Saturday at Aggie Stadium.
It was Nathan Javadi who turned the trick against UC Riverside on Wednesday for the Aggies (5-8, 3-2 Big West), who have won three straight games all by the same score. UCD sits tied with
UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton for second place in the Big West with nine points.
ÒIÕm so used to (the late goals) because IÕve been through so many of them,Ó Shaffer said. ÒI told the guys at the beginning of overtime ÔLetÕs get a goal and win thisÕ because thatÕs the way you have to think at home.Ó
Indeed, after a fairly lackluster 90 minutes of regulation, UCD turned on the gas in overtime.
The Aggies had the first good chance of the first extra period when Alex Aguiar made a good run down the left side. He passed inside to John Joslin, who in turn fed Kevin Schulte on the right. SchulteÕs attempted cross was saved by Northridge goalkeeper Michael Abalos.
Seconds later, midfielder Jacob Barren let rip from 25 yards out, only to see Abalos deflect the ball out for a corner.
The second overtime featured more of the same.
UCD had back-to-back corner kicks and the second eventually fell to Hord on the far post. In a play similar to the game-winner, Hord crossed to Javadi, whose header was inches away from being his second winner in as many games.
With the clock ticking under two minutes and a tie looming, the ball again ended up on HordÕs foot on the right side of the field. Shawlee got on the end of the cross, smacking his header to the near post and sending the raucous crowd of 1,273 on Break the Record night into a frenzy.
ÒWe knew that we had to get three points,Ó Shawlee said. ÒWe need to get wins at home if we want to make the playoffs. … This was important because weÕre trying to get fans out here and we want to show weÕre legit.Ó
Like on Wednesday against Riverside, UCD could have ended the game in regulation.
Forward Lance Patterson had a breakaway down the right side in the 19th minute, only to have Abalos save it. The play was nearly identical to a breakaway Patterson had saved against the Highlanders.
With just over seven minutes on the clock in the second half, Joslin lined one up from 20 yards away but Abalos saved again, then corralled the rebound to prevent Patterson from knocking it in.
In all, the Aggies had nine shots on goal in regulation and added five more in overtime, forcing Abalos to make five saves. His counterpart, freshman Omar Zeenni, pitched his third straight shutout while recording three saves on his birthday.
UCD was working with a patchwork defense for much of the night. Rene Cuellar didnÕt play due to an injury sustained in practice while fellow defender Mustafa Chopan went out 15 minutes into the game.
Shawlee got the start, and rewarded his coachÕs faith, while Sam Del Gobbo came in for Chopan and helped lock down the Northridge attack.
ÒThatÕs the thing with Ethan,Ó Shaffer said. ÒHeÕs a big, tall kid and heÕs good in the air. Sometimes you need those defenders to battle in the air and win a ball.Ó
Notes: The Aggies came up short on Break the Record night, failing to top the 1,344 fans who showed up for UCDÕs 2008 playoff victory over Denver at Aggie Soccer Stadium. … Though tied with Santa Barbara for second, the Gauchos have a game in hand. The two teams meet on Wednesday at Aggie Stadium. … WednesdayÕs goal by Javadi was his first of the season and second of his career.
Ñ Reach Conor Tekautz at email@example.com or (530) 747-8049. Comment on this story or check out The Enterprise sports blog at www.davisenterprise.com