The UC Irvine Men’s Soccer team (4-7-3) and the UC Davis Aggies (6-7-1) tied one-a-piece at Anteater Stadium on Oct. 13.
Although the teams were evenly matched, the Aggies looked to be the underdog, having been 1-5 on the road this season. This game was anticipated as a showcase of UC Davis’s explosive offense and UC Irvine’s superior defense.
Two minutes into the game, UCI’s offense dominated when freshman midfielder Francesco Montanile made the first shot.
The Anteaters seemed to have everything under control until Davis sophomore midfielder Maximilian Arfsten came up with a low cross from the sidelines. Davis senior midfielder Andy Velasquez beat the defender to place a perfect header to the top of the box, giving the Aggies a 1-0 lead. This marked the fifth goal of the season for Velasquez, making him the second highest goal scorer for UC Davis in the season.
Velasquez’s header caught UCI graduate student goalkeeper Gordon Botterill off guard, effectively ending his 199-minute streak.
Velasquez continued to prove a threat to the Anteaters. Three minutes after scoring, he missed a strike with his right foot wide of the goal. UCI countered Velasquez’s shot with junior midfielder Ashish Chattha. Chattha’s low left kick was securely blocked by Davis redshirt freshman goalkeeper Charles Janssen. Arfsten, who made the assist to Velasquez, decided to take a high left shot.
UC Irvine tried to match UC Davis’ explosive offense with Montanile, who was a menace to the Aggies’ defensive side. His shot, however, was blocked.
27 minutes into the game, the Aggies showed signs of life when junior midfielder Connor Tipton took control of the ball and shot it high off the crossbar.
However, just as the Aggies seemed to come back into the game, UCI’s offense persisted as freshman forward Jake Means landed a low left kick, which was blocked by Janssen.
Means, who had been awarded a yellow card, redeemed himself when he shot an absolute rock into the net, tying up the game, 1-1.
With less than five minutes left in the first half, Means was assisted by freshman defender Josh Kenworthy.
Janssen continued to lead the Aggies, blocking a tricky shot by Irvine graduate student forward Ryan Khedoo.
The first shot of the second half came from Velasquez, who connected with a dangerous low right kick. However, this was saved by Botterill.
UC Davis continued to attack, coming strong with a right-footed strike by Arfsten. Arfsten and Velasquez were the Aggies’ dynamic throughout the whole night, keeping Botterill’s hands full. The UCI goalkeeper made an incredible save following another shot by Velasquez.
It wasn’t until the 67th minute that UCI finally showed their offensive spark. Redshirt junior forward Axel Adler kicked the ball low in the center of the goal, which was an easy save for Janssen.
Botterill was next to keep the ball out of his net with another brilliant save, diving to block a top right shot by Tipton.
UCI finally had an opportunity to win at the 85th minute with a low right shot by redshirt freshman forward Rafael Espinoza. This shot, however, was deflected by Janssen.
The final shot before overtime came from UCI’s sophomore defender Ricardo Ibarra, who missed severely.
UCI seemed to have an adrenaline rush at the beginning of overtime, with Kenworthy taking a quick shot that was blocked by the Aggies defense.
Means continued this new spark of energy, as it seemed UCI wanted to end the game quickly. He took a strong right shot, which was blocked by Janssen.
The last play of the night was made by UCI from a long throw-in; however, the Aggies defense deflected it before they were in trouble. The game ended with a 1-1 tie.
UCI aims to win against the Big West Conference’s No. 4 team, CSU Bakersfield (4-7-1), when they visit them at the CSUB Main Soccer Field on Saturday, Oct. 16.
Marcos Gonzalez is a 2021-2022 Sports Staff Writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.