The Matadors avoided losing a fifth consecutive game Saturday night at Matador Soccer Field, and held the UC Davis Aggies scoreless through 110 minutes.
However, CSUN (4-7-2, 0-3-1 Big West) failed to find the back of the net for the second game in a row, giving the UC Davis Aggies their eighth tie of the season (4-1-8, 2-1-1 Big West) and keeping the Matadors winless in the Big West.
In a game that head coach Terry Davila called “emotional,” there were two red cards, four yellow cards including one for each bench and plenty of missed opportunities.
Two Matador strikes found the back of the net, but were negated by offside calls, including a late strike by sophomore midfielder Nicholas Camacho with just 11 minutes to go. Despite the potential goals called off by referees, Davila felt CSUN needed to take more shots than the 15 they took during the game.
“We took six shots on goal, I’d like to get it up to 10 or 11,” Davila said. “I like [the number of shots] to be a little higher, but 15 is enough to win a game.”
33 minutes into the game, Aggies senior defender Ramon Martin Del Campo struck senior forward Sagi Lev-Ari near his head and earned the first red card of the game. Lev-Ari went down hard and left the pitch a few minutes later but was cleared to play in the second half by training staff after concussion tests, Kevin Strauss, assistant sports information director said.
Matador sophomore defender/midfielder Shane Steffes earned CSUN’s only red card when he left his feet for a tackle in the 59th minute, bringing the game to a 10-on-10 affair for the final 50 minutes.
The UC Davis bench received a yellow card in the 65th minute after coaches and players argued a non-call on a collision near the Aggies’ goalpost, and after a referee had given them a warning. The CSUN bench earned a yellow 55 seconds later after a heated Davila continued to speak to a referee after he himself received a warning.
Cooler heads would prevail following the yellow cards for each bench, but each team would continue to miss scoring opportunities, as senior forward Edwin Rivas sent a cross which sailed out of bounds and missed a shot wide, and junior defender/midfielder Victor Vasquez struck a shot that sailed over the net.
Coming into the match, the Aggies had one of the conference’s best defenses, allowing a conference-low .9 goals per match, spearheaded by the goalkeeper platoon of sophomore Armando Quezada and junior Kris Schultz, the Big West’s top two goalkeepers in goals against average. Davila said the game plan for the Matadors was to go around a defense that plays in two blocks of four, a strategy junior defender Trevor Morley said CSUN executed.
“Utilize our widths, get the ball wide and get behind them, I think we did a good job of that for most of the game,” Morley said.
Despite the strategy, Camacho, Lev-Ari and Rivas all had shots on ball scooped up by Schultz in the first half, and could not send the ball past Quezada after he replaced Schultz late in the first overtime after Schultz suffered a leg injury clearing a ball in the open field.
Although the Matadors failed to gain ground in the Big West, Davila looks forward to the rest of the conference schedule.
“We broke the losing streak, so maybe the next step is winning a game,” Davila said. “We go into south conference, and all those games are six point games, and you can change things around in a hurry.”
Morley feels the offense, which hasn’t scored for 213 game minutes, will eventually wake up.
“I think it’ll come in the next couple of games,” Morley said.” We outshoot most of our opponents.”
The Matadors will host the UC Riverside Highlanders Saturday at 7 p.m. at Matador Soccer Field.