LA VERNE, Calif. - Sophomore center Teddy Nicholson scored hat tricks in each of two wins to help 12th-ranked UC Davis go unbeaten at the Inland Empire Classic men's water polo tournament. The Aggies defeated Pomona-Pitzer in a 12-10 battle then cruised to a 16-3 win over Occidental in Sunday's action, held at the La Verne Aquatic Center.
UC Davis improves to 4-1 for the season.
Nicholson has now performed three straight hat tricks, continuing a streak from Saturday's night's win over Redlands. He and senior Colin Hicks shared the team lead with three goals in the morning victory over the Sagehens, while Matt Vowell and Trevor Allen added two. Senior Hank Dickey enjoyed a strong overall game, drawing four kickouts and a five-meter foul. Redshirt freshman Robert Clemons played all 32 minutes at goalkeeper, tallying eight saves with three steals.
The win over PP proved to be the Aggies' toughest challenge of the tournament, as the two teams battled to a 10-10 midway through the fourth quarter. Dickey's fourth drawn exclusion set up Nicholson's game-winning 6-on-5 goal with 2:47 to go. Then with roughly 30 seconds remaining, Colin Hicks picked up a steal to allow UC Davis into clock-management mode. The Sagehens even pulled their goalkeeper from the cage in an effort to gain one last scoring opportunity, but the Aggies did not surrender possession. In the final seconds facing heavy defensive pressure, senior Anders MacCarthy had no choice but to send a goal into the unmanned cage for the 12th score.
UC Davis had led 2-1 through the first quarter and 6-3 at halftime. Allen scored on an extra-man chance and Dickey hit a natural goal from the hole set during the opening period. Nicholson scored twice in the second, one from set and another on a 6-on-5 chance. Hicks also netted two goals in the second frame, first on an exclusion opportunity at 4:01 then again on a counterattack with 18 ticks before the break.
With no time left in the first half, sophomore Chris Richardson stole the ball from the Sagehens but was held underwater. The former conference All-Freshman pick got involved in an altercation with a Pomona player and was rolled from the game. By rule, the Sagehens earned both a five-meter penalty shot and received a 6-on-5 opportunity to start the third. They converted both, cutting the Aggies' halftime lead to just one goal with virtually no time removed from the clock.
Allen scored on a counterattack midway through the third quarter and assisted Hicks on a drive from the one spot, while Vowell put up two more goals, giving UC Davis a 10-8 lead after 24 minutes played. But Pomona-Pitzer answered with two goals early in the fourth to tie the contest at 10-10, setting the table for Dickey's drawn kickout and Nicholson's game-winner.
Contrasting their morning battle with the Sagehens, the Aggies dispatched Occidental with relative ease in their afternoon matchup. Vowell opened the game with a goal from six, then drew a kickout that enabled Dooley to score his first goal of the day at the 6:22 mark. Sophomore Michael Wright also converted a 6-on-5 chance, Nicholson delivered from set, then Julian Personius and Kevin Meisel each finished counterattacks to push UC Davis to a 6-1 lead after one quarter.
Vowell drew a second kickout and Dooley scored the extra-man goal on the Aggies' first possession of the second. Freshman Austin Beckwith scored on a counterattack a minute later to extend the lead to 8-1. He also drew a five-meter foul although the Aggies missed the ensuing penalty shot. Bernie Rogers and Dooley each added goals down the stretch to send UC Davis to the break with a 10-1 advantage.
The Aggies tacked on two more goals before allowing Oxy to add to their total: Nicholson scored from two meters on the first series after the sprint, then sophomore Greg Nelsen drew a five-meter and hit his own penalty shot at the 6:05 mark. The Tigers ended their 15-minute scoring drought with a 6-on-5 goal to cut the Aggie lead to 12-2. Personius added two goals in a 3-0 UC Davis stretch to complete his hat trick before Oxy struck again with yet another exclusion goal at the buzzer.
Holding a 15-3 lead into the fourth, the Aggies called off the dogs in the fourth. The lone goal by either team was 6-on-5 chance: Vowell drew his third exclusion of the game and Nicholson scored his third goal of the game.
Junior Tony Dito manned the cage for all four quarters against Oxy, posting seven saves with the three goals against.
UC Davis continues tournament action at the NorCal Invitational at Stanford. The Aggies are seeded 12th in the prestigious event, pooled with Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and Santa Clara.
2012 INLAND EMPIRE CLASSIC MEN'S WATER POLO TOURNAMENT
Day 2 La Verne Aquatic Center University of La Verne
UC Davis scores only.
|#12 UC Davis (3-1)||2||4||4||2||-||12|
GOALIE SAVES - UC Davis: Robert Clemons 8 (32:00). PP: not available.
|#12 UC Davis (4-1)||6||4||5||1||-||16|
GOALS - UC Davis: Stuart Dooley 3, Julian Personius 3, Teddy Nicholson 3, Matt Vowell 1, Michael Wright 1, Kevin Meisel 1, Bernie Rogers 1, Austin Beckwith 1, Matt Manchenton 1, Greg Nelsen 1. OXY: Nathaniel Whitmore 2, Patrick Maloney 1.
GOALIE SAVES - UC Davis: Tony Dito 7 (32:00). OXY: Scott Churchman 7, Josh Needleman 4.