Men’s soccer preview

Teams: UC Davis (7-5-4, 5-2) at UC Santa Barbara (9-3-3, 3-3-1)

Where: Harder Stadium — Santa Barbara, California

When:  Sunday at 2 p.m.

Who to watch: Junior forward Alex Henry’s game-winning goal and assist led the UC Davis men’s soccer team to back-to-back wins over UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton and led to his selection as the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week two weeks in a row. Henry scored a clearance past the Titan defense in the 79th minute that skipped into the lower right corner of the goal.

In addition, Henry was named to the Soccer America Men’s Team of the Week this past week after the two wins. We expect nothing less than a solid and exciting performance from Alex Henry in the upcoming match against UCSB.

Did you know?  Two years ago, the Aggies lost to UC Santa Barbara 2-1 in double overtime. The Gauchos took a 1-0 lead with a goal only nine minutes in as James Kiffe’s cross found Michael Nonni for a header shot into the right corner of the net.

UC Davis countered with a goal in the 33rd minute from Lance Patterson, his fifth of the season. The teams remained even through the first overtime period, before McGlynn’s gamewinner in the 102nd minute gave UC Santa Barbara the 2-1 win.

Preview: Coming off a 3-1 win over Sacramento State to capture the top spot in the Big West Championships, the Aggies are in a prime position at this moment.

After months of hard work and practice, the UC Davis men’s soccer team has been able to achieve the peak of their potential thus far and will strive to repeat these efforts as the end of the regular season nears.

This upcoming Sunday, the Aggies will face the Gauchos for the second time this season. UC Davis came away with an impressive 1-0 victory against UCSB, due to Alex Henry’s goal in the 85th minute of play. Henry’s free kick from the right wing soared past the hands of Gaucho goalkeeper Austin Mansker.

 

The Aggies have continued to put the pressure on their opponents in the subsequent matches, while the Gauchos have sustained a tumultuous season.

This past game, the Gauchos lost to Cal Poly 2-1 at home. Currently, UCSB is fourth in the Big West Championships with 13 points, trailing Cal Poly, Sacramento State and UC Davis.

With these past performances in mind and the prospect of an exciting and fulfilling finish to come, the Aggies are tremendously eager for the upcoming matchup.

“It’s a great place to play and I know that they’re going to be fired up to play against us. Any time you get to play at Santa Barbara, in that facility in that kind of a crowd, I think it’s just an exciting game for anybody,” said head coach Dwayne Shaffer. “My players are going to be as excited as I am to go down there. It’s just a great place to play.”

— Veena Bansal

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