The UC Irvine Men’s Soccer team defeated UC Davis 3-0 on Friday, Oct. 1, at Anteater Stadium.
The home game revealed all of the Anteaters’ hard work; as Head Coach George Kuntz said, ‘We were really adamant this week about our discipline and focus.’
The UC Davis Aggies (3-4-1) found penetrating UCI’s (3-5-0) defense very tough during the first half as the Anteaters dominated the field.
Sophomore forward Brad Evans scored the first goal for UCI early in the first half with assists from junior forward Sean Iliff and senior forward Sebastian Galmarini.
Satisfied with the team’s performance, Galmarini commented, ‘We came out as a strong unit, everyone worried for each other.’
After Evan’s goal, UC Davis sent several of its players to block UCI senior forward Lorne Howlett, whose speed and passes proved difficult for the Aggies to follow and block.
UC Davis made an incredible effort to get its forwards past UCI’s tough junior defender Sergio Rivera, who pushed the defense forward and successfully kept the ball in play.
Sophomore midfielder Doug Franco also played an exceptional game for the Anteaters.
Soon after the first goal, UC Davis’ efforts to contain Irvine’s strong offense and defense proved unsuccessful.
A play set by Franco and junior defender Daniel Marshall allowed Galmarini to secure the second goal in the first half with a solid header in the box.
The tension on the field in the first half earned the Anteaters 11 fouls, matching the Aggies’ 11 fouls.
Evans described the fouls as resulting from ‘reckless and unnecessary plays.’
Kuntz was not surprised by the fouls, admitting that ‘all season long we knew we were gonna play physical opponents.’
Kuntz was not disappointed in his players and said, ‘the guys have big hearts,’ and he ‘ was really happy about our clean slate.’
UCI came back strong for the second half, sending coordinated passes and reaching every player in a style that Kuntz describes as reminiscent of the South-American soccer teams.
The crowd saw speed and skills from freshman forward Rudy Mondragon and sophmore midfielder Brandon Tario, whose efforts on the field helped lower the number of fouls to only eight in the second half.
Toward the middle of the second half, a powerful kick from Evans made the third and final goal for the game.
Freshman defender Damon Manak controlled the center field and kept the Aggies scoreless until the end of the second half.
Evans felt that ‘[the game] was awesome with excellent team effort. We really came together.’
Senior goalkeeper Cameron Rossi, who blocked Davis’ eight shots, agreed that the game was ‘a great start for the season’ and that he’d like to see ‘fewer cards and fouls and better decisions about tackles.’
Proud of his players but anticipating the opponents to come, Kuntz commented that his team is ‘still working on finishing and closing out games.’
The next game will be against UC Riverside this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Anteater Stadium followed by another home game next Saturday against Cal State Northridge.
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