Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

The speed, quickness is back, says Aggie men’s soccer coach Shaffer

By
From page C1 | August 17, 2014 |

Before Aggie Nation goes crazy celebrating that the UC Davis men’s soccer team returns its top five point-makers from a year ago, note that those able young men accounted for only 17 goals on a squad that had just 20 net-benders during a 9-9-3 campaign.

Veteran UCD coach Dwayne Shaffer’s squad was one goal here, one goal there away from an NCAA postseason berth a year ago.

For example, against then-top 5-ranked UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 19, 2013, Gaucho goals in the last 30 seconds of regulation and overtime sent the Aggies packing, 3-2.

“We win or tie that game, we’re in the NCAA postseason. Just one win,” Shaffer said. “It’s been exciting, but also it’s been — for lack of a better term — frustrating that my team … (has) been so close. We’ve been one win away from making the NCAA tournament three years in a row.”

Now, the Aggies — who had the third-ranked Big West Conference defense with only 21 goals allowed — are working this first week of practice on doing a better job of putting the ball away.

“We have some great players in the program,” Shaffer told The Enterprise. “Our two leading scorers from last year (Matt Sheldon and Matt Wiesenfarth, six goals, 13 points each) are both going to be seniors. They’ve pretty much been starters throughout careers. We also have a couple of recruits to help with the offense.”

Shaffer added that his guys are “back to the level of speed and quickness that we’ve had in the past. Adjustments will have to be more on the part of our opponents.”

UCD fans will learn a little more about just where that offense stands when Chico State comes to town for a noon scrimmage Sunday at Aggie Soccer Field.

As Shaffer talks about how a starting lineup might look, he dwells a minute on the team’s big loss: Big West Goalkeeper of the Year Omar Zeeni. Trying to make up for the graduation of this brilliant three-year starter will be junior John Piasta, redshirt sophomore Armando Quezada and junior Kris Schultz.

“We lost a great one,” Shaffer acknowledged. “But Piasta, Schultz and Quezada are showing great qualities to be the starter. It’s just a matter of who is the most prepared and gives us the best chance to win.”

On the back line, a couple of preseason all-league first-team picks — seniors Brian Ford and Ramon Martin Del Campo — will join senior Andre Brown and Sam Hoeck (a 6-foot-3 junior).

Martin Del Campo just spent a week in the U.S. U23 National Team camp.

Up front will be, Shaffer hopes, a relentless duo in Sheldon and Wiesenfarth. Sheldon is another BWC preseason first-teamer with former Jesuit High star Wiesenfarth a second-team choice.

In the midfield, Davis High graduate Ryan Gross, still only a junior, returns with senior Ian Palmer. This was an area hit hard by graduation and Shaffer said after three days of practice, it’s too early to tell how the middle of the pitch will play out.

“Gross is a great leader and should be holding down the center-middle position,” the coach explained.

But what about the offense? Shaffer delved deeper …

“There are no secrets in soccer. The maturity of some of our players and the positive attitude of the team … and we’ve added some quality in some of the players coming in.

“Also, we need to get better on our set pieces.”

For a time last year, UCD led the Big West in shots on goals and corner kicks. But their conversion rate — 20-of-286 (.070 percent) — was not good. On 121 corners, the Aggies scored not one goal.

“We’re taking the shots. Our players are being put in positions to be successful. But we need to capitalize on our chances created,” Shaffer concluded.

UCD kicks off the regular season in the Wolstein Classic at Ohio State. The Buckeyes are the challenge come Aug. 29, followed by a Aug. 31 date with Canisius.

Then, West Coast Conference foes Loyola Marymount (Sept. 5) and San Diego (Sept. 7) come to town. Nonleague home dates also include Air Force, Grand Canyon and St. Mary’s.

Big West play starts Oct. 2 with Cal State Fullerton in a rare night game (7 p.m.) at Aggie Stadium under the lights. Cal Poly (6 p.m. on Oct. 22) also is at Aggie Stadium.

Notes: UCD plays three schools in the first National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll — No. 16 UC Irvine, No.18 UC Santa Barbara and No. 24 Cal State Northridge. “Unfortunately, they’re all in our conference,” Shaffer points out. … Shaffer said soccer has never been bigger in the U.S. and believes his Aggies will be entertaining. However, he remembers 20 years ago when he was an assistant at Clemson: “We were the No. 1 team in the country … for the three years I was there, the top-scoring team. We scored 98 goals in 1993, then in 1994 we scored 95. We had one guy score 32, another 29.” Shaffer knows the game has changed: “If you have a player that can score eight to 10 goals during the season, that’s a great strike rate.” Aggie fans might have two guys in Wiesenfarth and Sheldon who could do just that.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

     
     
    Davis team wins world robotics championship

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

     
    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

     
    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Those texts still linger

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

     
    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

     
    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

     
    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    .

    Sports

    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

     
    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

     
    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

     
    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

     
    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8