UCI 3 UC Davis 0
The Anteaters and Aggies played to a scoreless tie in the first half on Wednesday, Oct. 6, but UCI woke up in the second half. No. 9 Irvine scored three goals in a nine-minute span, netted by seniors Gray Bailey, Amani Walker and Spencer Thompson.
Thompson began the rampage in the 61st minute with his fifth goal of the year. Walker then scored in the 68th minute, making him the Big West’s leading goal scorer. Two minutes later, Bailey extended the lead to three.
Fontein would go on to hold off Davis for the remaining twenty minutes and record yet another shutout. Keeping the Aggies scoreless extended Fontein’s career shutouts record to eighteen, his ninth of the season.
The victory improved the ’Eaters’ record to 9-1-1 on the season, as Davis fell to 2-8.
UCI 2 Cal Poly 1
UC Irvine men’s soccer team played its third game in the Big West Conference on Saturday, Oct. 9 against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Anteaters defeated the Mustangs 2-1, improving their record to 10-1-1 on the season.
“It was a defensive battle,” Head Coach George Kuntz said. “There’s a lot of history between these two teams.”
The much-anticipated game drew a relatively large crowd of 627. SLO took first possession of the ball, scoring four minutes into the game. A defensive battle ensued.
UCI trailed SLO for forty minutes until Amani Walker, with an assist from junior forward Miguel Ibarra, shot a close-range goal amidst a mass group of players. UCI’s first goal of the evening tied the game 1-1.
As the second half started, both teams knew they needed to score another goal to avoid overtime. Throughout the second half, both teams had ample opportunities to score, but came up short as both goalkeepers held their own.
With less than three minutes left, junior midfielder Bello Alhassan fired a shot low to the ground, just inside the right post. He was assisted by senior forward Spencer Thompson.
“Amazing, that is all I can say,” Alhassan said when asked how he felt when he scored the winning goal. “We need to get on top of this league,” he said, referring to their position in the Big West Conference.
Junior goalkeeper Andrew Fontein played an excellent game with many saves, allowing only one goal. Fontein displayed quick reflexes and cleared several passes downfield throughout the game. Coach Kuntz admitted that they were having an off night, and a couple of the players were banged up. The ’Eaters played well but relinquished their fourth goal of the season.
“It’s important to defend our home ground,” Kuntz said as he mentioned that they will play SLO at their home stadium this Saturday.
“This was a really important game for us,” Alhassan said, who is new to the team this year.
He went on to emphasize the importance of the team’s “hard work on the field” and constant hustle. UCI will play SLO once again on Oct. 16 in San Luis Obispo. In the unfriendly confines of SLO, Irvine (10-1-1) will look to remain undefeated in Big West action.