Teams: UC Davis vs. UC Riverside; vs. Cal State Fullerton
Records: Aggies, 3-4-4 (1-1); Highlanders, 8-2-0 (1-1); Titans, 7-4-0 (0-2);
Where: Aggie Stadium, Davis, Calif.
When: Friday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m.
Who to watch: Junior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni has made an invaluable difference to the success of the UC Davis men’s soccer team. Recently, he was named Big West Player of the Week for his consistent outstanding performances.
He kept UC Davis in the game for their three straight draws on the road, and allowed only one goal in 330 minutes in the net. This snapped Zeenni’s 358-minute scoreless streak that consisted of shutouts against UNLV, Cal State Bakersfield and Air Force.
Did you know? Last year, on Oct. 1, the Aggies captured a 1-0 victory over the Highlanders.
After only 52 seconds of play, sophomore Matt Wiesenfarth found the back of the net after the ball ricocheted off a UCR defender and back to the forward. In addition, Omar Zeenni finished with three saves in the first matchup between the two last year.
Preview: The Aggies continue their quest for a top spot in this year’s Big West Championships, facing the Highlanders and the Titans in a two-game road trip.
Up until this point, the Aggies have been posting strong performances and expecting thrilling yet grueling matches against the two teams. Last week, the team dropped a game to Cal State Northridge but redeemed themselves with a strong win over UC Irvine.
“At this point, the win boosted our confidence,” said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. “We’re happy and healthy and making sure our team is mentally and physically ready to go.”
The Aggies will primarily be focusing their attention on remaining physically and mentally fresh for the upcoming matches, fully aware of the challenges up ahead. Although every team in the Big West is a threat, Shaffer feels confident in their abilities and the Aggies are excited to shine in front of their home crowd.
“I feel good about both games,” Shaffer said. “We’ve played well all season. We’ll be great at home in front of our crowd.”
— Veena Bansal