MORAGA, Calif. – Entering Thursday's non-conference game at Saint Mary's, the Gaels were ranked No. 6 in the nation, held a 31-game overall unbeaten streak — the ninth-longest all-time in NCAA Division I history — and a 26-game unbeaten streak at home.
Thanks to Whalen Shinn's goal in the 51st minute, which tied the game at one apiece, and three unanswered scored within 11:19 of game time late in the second half, UC Davis snapped both of those streaks, and earned another victory over a nationally ranked opponent by defeating SMC, 4-2.
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With their loss, the first at Saint Mary's Stadium since Sept. 16, 2016, and the first suffered this season, the Gaels fall to 7-1. UC Davis will now head to Oregon State for Sunday's 7 p.m. meeting with a 5-3-1 record.
Earlier this season, UC Davis defeated then-No. 25 Air Force at Aggie Soccer Field; the previous week saw men's soccer defeat a Wisconsin team that received votes in the inaugural national poll of the season, on its own turf in each team's season opener.
"I thought this team played really well, the Gaels are a great team," said head coach Dwayne Shaffer.
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"For us to travel to Saint Mary's, and defeat them on their own field is an outstanding achievement. We put together a tactical game plan and it worked really well. For the first time this season this team played like a UC Davis soccer team."
Even though SMC struck first in the 20th minute, the Aggies remained within striking distance at halftime, and prevented the host Gaels from adding to its advantage before the break.
Five minutes and 12 seconds after action resumed, Shinn scored his second goal of the season to even the score at one apiece.
That tied score was short lived because the Gaels regained their lead three minutes later.
A foul in the box, in front of the Gaels' net, created an opportunity that Kristian Heptner took full advantage of when he helped the Aggies pull even at 2-2 by converting a penalty kick.
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UC Davis' relentless attack continued as the half progressed; its first lead of the day took place in the 76th minute when Andy Velasquez scored his second goal of the season to push the Aggies ahead by a 3-2 score.
Five minutes later, Heptner earned his second career brace when he found the back of the net once again to double his team's lead.
With the way UC Davis played throughout the second half, it was only a matter of time, literally, before the Aggies left the field with a clutch road win since SMC could not handle the Aggies' stifling defense, or their ability to create one dangerous scoring opportunity after another throughout the final 45 minutes of action.
Compared to his counterpart who was forced to make four saves throughout the second half, Wallis Lapsley was only tested once after halftime. Of the Aggies' 15 total shots, 12 took place after the break; eight of their nine shots on goal were also earned in the second half.
UC Davis' program-record eight-game road swing will continue Sunday night when the Aggies head to Corvallis to face Oregon State for the second time in as many seasons. A live stats link for this non-conference game is available at UCDavisAggies.com.