Friday, December 26, 2014

UCD men’s soccer grasps program firsts in 2012

From page B1 | November 13, 2012 |

UCD freshman Ryan Gross, a Davis High graduate, had a strong season for the Aggies, who just missed being selected for the NCAA Tournament. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

UC Davis men’s soccer head coach Dwayne Shaffer was well aware of the struggles that were ahead for his squad on its 2012 schedule, which included six matches against teams that began the season in the top 25.

“My motto has always been, ‘We’ll play anybody, anywhere, any day,’ ” he said at the season’s onset.

Thankfully, Shaffer’s Aggies were more than willing to rise to the challenge. UCD battled through unfamiliar nonconference competition and one of the nation’s toughest leagues to finish with a record of 10-7-4 overall and 8-4 in the Big West Conference. It was a nice improvement on last year’s records of 7-8-4 overall and 5-4-2 in Big West play.

In addition, the Aggies achieved a program first by reaching — and hosting — the championship game of the Big West Conference Tournament.

UCD bested Cal State Fullerton, 2-0, in the semifinals, the same round the Aggies were bounced from, 2-1, by UC Barbara in 2011. Needing one more win to be crowned the 2012 Big West champions, the locals were unable to get past Cal State Northridge, falling 1-0 on Saturday at Aggie Soccer Field.

“We were just as good as them, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net,” said Shaffer, who concludes his 16th year at the helm. “Their goalkeeper made three or four incredible saves. There’s not much we can do about that.”

The first step on the long road to the Big West finals was a nonconference bout with UNLV on Aug. 24, which ended up being the first season-opening victory for UCD in four years. The Aggies went on to tie subsequent road games against CSU Bakersfield, Air Force, Denver and San Francisco.

After riding the high of a five-game unbeaten streak, UCD hit a lull by dropping the next five matches. However, the Aggies rallied back from the midseason slump to defeat then-No. 23 Tulsa on Sept. 14 at the SMU Classic.

The 2012 Big West slate began the same way it would end as UCD opened conference play with a loss at Northridge before embarking on a four-game winning streak. The season success continued with a Nov. 3 victory over Sacramento State to capture the Big West North title.

“The Big West is one of the top ranked conferences in the nation,” Shaffer said. “To be Northern Division champions, and to make the conference final, is a great accomplishment for the program. I’m proud of my players for putting in a tremendous amount of effort to get us there.”

Had the Aggies emerged victorious from the Big West Conference Tournament, they would have earned automatic qualification into the NCAA Tournament, which begins Thursday.

Instead, the local men had to nervously wait for the university’s name to be called during the NCAA’s bracket selection Monday. The UCD squad gathered together to watch the event via a live video stream, but the Aggies found themselves absent from the list of 48 teams invited to the prestigious competition.

According to Shaffer, a few last-minute upsets ultimately kept his guys from getting a tournament bid.

“We were disappointed,” he confessed. “It felt like we were deserving to be in the tournament, and we played well enough. We did everything we were supposed to do to make the tournament.

“Hopefully, we can return next year and win the conference tournament and make the NCAA tournament.”

But not all of the 2012 UCD squad will be around to see that goal come to fruition. A key starter, senior Mustafa Chopan, is one anchor who will be missed next season

“He will be desperately missed,” Shaffer said. “Not only for his playing, but for his leadership abilities.”

The graduation of Aggie senior defender Ethan Shawlee will leave just as big a hole to fill. Another veteran, forward Josh Joslin, also leaves the UCD roster.

On the other hand, UCD returns a bunch of talented players, who should re-enter the fray in 2013 stronger than ever. Juniors Alex Aguire, Kevin Schulte and Pat Reese, along with sophomore Matt Sheldon all will be back after scoring three goals apiece this fall. Freshman Ryan Gross, a Davis High graduate, started every game of 2012, posting two goals and three assists.

Shaffer said these players, all of whom had exceptional seasons, will greatly benefit from the experience of an unquestionably difficult 2012 campaign.

“We have made the Big West Conference Tournament the past two years,” he added. “They’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get there. I feel like these young men are the right fit for the program.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at or 530-747-8052.



  • Recent Posts

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

  • .


    Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to UCD campus

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

    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

    Playing Santa

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Goats help recycle Christmas trees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    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

    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

    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



    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



    Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    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

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

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery





    ‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11



    Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

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



    James J. Dunning Jr.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Floyd W. Fenocchio

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



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

    By Creator | From Page: B7

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

    By Creator | From Page: A9