Tuesday, March 3, 2015

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 [email protected] or 530-747-8052.



  • Recent Posts

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

  • .


    Pig out at Farmers Market’s Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

    Sheriff: Mother ‘sole person responsible’ for infant’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Rifle Team has a blast with competitive shooting

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Child abduction case in jury’s hands

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Pipeline project will soften water in 2016

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Christie to Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Colon prep can be hard to swallow

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Scouts help fill STEAC’s pantry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Parole denied in 1987 killing spree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Explore Asia at Arboretum storytime

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    MU Games closing in late March

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Still no parole in toddler case

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offers wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    UCD student with meningococcal disease is recovering

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Young patients bond with special stuffies

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Diversity theater group continues creativity workshops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Radio talk show moves to Mondays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Assault awareness campaign kicks off

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    UCD student panel to cover anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yolo Food Bank hosts thank-you breakfast on Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9



    Mars or ISIS? Similar outcome

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    City may get charged up over energy choices

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Milt Priggee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    Rowing: PE as well as life skills

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Police complaint procedures drafted

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Clarifying energy update letter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Weekly claw pickup necessary

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Design innovation centers for the 21st century

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B5

    A new perspective on life

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

    Distant water crisis has lessons for Davis

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

    Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7



    Devils get a soccer win despite finishing woes

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Winning close games is the key for DHS softballers

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie men get a bounce-back win at Cal Poly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    The mystery continues: lowly Gauchos upset UCD women

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Razo throws well as Aggies get a baseball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Defending champion Blue Devils have diamond holes to fill

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Republic FC falls to storied New York Cosmos

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B10







    Online store will celebrate, mock People’s Republic of Davis

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Yolo Federal Credit Union honored for supporting business education

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10





    Comics: Sunday, March 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8