Three-Goal Outburst Lifts Aggies 3-2 Over The Badgers
Soccer News: UC Davis senior Lucas Mohageg finished with a goal and an assist, while freshman Kristian Heptner and Ryan Gross added first-half goals, helping lift the host Aggies to a 3-2 win over visiting Wisconsin on Sunday evening at the Aggie Soccer Field.
The win was the first of the year for UC Davis, which improved to 1-3 overall on the season, putting up three goals for the first time since defeating Cal State Fullerton, 3-1, on Oct. 2, 2014. The Badgers, who pulled back to within a goal with a pair of strikes 12 minutes apart midway through the second half, fell to 0-4 on the year.
“I thought we played really well,” Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer said. “I liked our energy and our team’s intensity at the outset. We knew Wisconsin was a strong team despite their results, and we knew they were going to give us all we could handle coming in here with their backs against the wall.”
Mohageg’s strike in the 23rd minute got things rolling for the Aggies as he headed home a long free kick by Hoshang Hatifie after a handball, burying a shot to the right side for the 1-0 advantage. UC Davis continued to roll, scoring twice within two minutes as Heptner and Gross got in on the action.
“Lucas has really settled into his position,” Shaffer said. “Take away everything before about the 16th minute at Washington and his play has just been dominant. He was a great leader today and I feel like he just continues to get better and better.”
Another free kick within shooting range led to the freshman’s first career goal, as Mohageg snuck a low bullet through traffic and off the hands of goalkeeper Connor Revsbeck. Heptner was in the right place at the right time, one-timing the rebound at the right post to make it 2-0 in the 38th minute.
Gross then added his first of the year in the 40th minute, taking a ball down the left side from Noah Wilson and punching one in from the top left-hand corner of the box into traffic. Freshman Justin Wright was closely marked in the box and got a leg up that distracted the Wisconsin keeper enough to let Gross’ ball sneak through to the right side and make it 3-0.
“We had a great effort and we did everything we needed to do in the first half,” Shaffer said. “It was nice to get those three goals and it was a great boost to the team’s confidence.”
The Badgers pulled one back in the 67th minute as Adam Lauko flicked in a looping cross from teammate Alex Masbruch back to the left post to make it 3-1, and Wisconsin made it a one-goal contest on Isaac Schlenker‘s first of the year off a long throw by Anders Kristensen and a short pass by Mark Segbers in the 79th minute.
UC Davis then buckled down, getting a pair of key saves from junior goalkeeper Armando Quezada, who finished with six on the day, in the final two minutes, and the Aggies almost added an insurance strike with just over a minute to play, as sophomore Lizandro Torres had a shot from 15 yards rattle the crossbar, dive straight down, and back into the field of play.
“Wisconsin is a great team, and the second half, after falling behind by three goals, they just had to go for it,” Shaffer said. “They made some nice adjustments, but I just told our players that they were going to have to weather the storm and keep attacking.”
A 13-4 shot advantage in the first half for UC Davis led to a 17-12 advantage for the match, including 10 of those 17 shots put on frame. Heptner led all players off the bench with four shots on the night.
The Aggies return to the field on Friday (Sept. 11) at 4:30 p.m., traveling to Berkeley, California, for a marquee match-up against Bay Area rival California, televised live on the Pac-12 Network. Despite their proximity, the two programs haven’t met since a clashing in front of a sell-out crowd in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, won by the Golden Bears, 2-1, in double overtime.
“We’re continuing to improve,” Shaffer said. “Our confidence is growing after our performance in the last two matches, which were much better than our first two in Seattle. Technically and tactically were browning, we’re settling into a good starting group and a good rotation, and Friday at California will be a great opportunity for us. They are a good program, have been for a few years, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
1. 22:08 UCD Mohageg, Lucas (1) (Hatifie, Hoshang) – free kick after handball, headed at left post to right side
2. 37:00 UCD Heptner, Kristian (1) (Mohageg, Lucas) – free kick by UCD#16 saved, rebound put home
3. 39:04 UCD Gross, Ryan (1) (Wilson, Noah) – long kick from top left of box, sneaks through traffic in at rt post
4. 66:08 WIS Lauko, Adam (1) (Masbruch, Alex) – looping cross to right post, flicked in to left
5. 78:01 WIS Schlenker, Isaac (1) (Kristensen, Anders;Segbers, Mark) – long throw, flicked back, shot to lower left
Shots: Wisconsin 12, UC Davis 17
Saves: Wisconsin 7 (Revsbeck, Connor 7), UC Davis 7 (Quezada, Armando 6; TEAM 1)