Nov. 20, 2011
LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Despite senior Aaron Salit's hat trick and a pair of fourth-quarter goals from redshirt freshman Chris Richardson, 12th-ranked and fourth-seeded UC Davis was unable to complete its second-half comeback, falling to 11th-ranked UC San Diego by an 8-7 final in the WWPA men's championship game at Canyonview Aquatic Center Sunday afternoon.
The Aggies, stopped in their bid to make the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1997, end their season at 22-12. The Tritons improve to 17-9 overall.
Besides Salit's and Richardson's offensive contributions, senior goalkeeper Kevin Peat posted 11 saves in his final collegiate game. That lifts his season total to 335, breaking Mike McGee's four-year-old school record. Senior Ryan Hagens and junior Colin Hicks also had a goal apiece for UC Davis.
Sophomore driver Josh Stiling led UCSD with three goals while Graham Saber and John Butler added two each.
The Aggies fell behind early, spotting their hosts a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Salit put UC Davis on the board with a 6-on-5 goal in the final second of the opening period, but Butler connected for the Tritons early in the second quarter to restore the lead to three. Hagens and Hicks hit natural goals in the second frame, allowing the Aggies to within a 5-3 halftime deficit.
Saber and Stiling each scored midway through the third to extend the Triton advantage to 7-3, but that helped ignite UC Davis' comeback bid. Salit scored his second goal on an extra-man opportunity on the next possession, then he and Richardson each netted goals early in the fourth to bring the tally to 7-6. The Aggies had a shot to equalize on a five-meter penalty with 5:03 remianing, but failed to convert. It wasn't until Richardson scored at the 3:37 mark that the Triton lead was wiped to 7-7.
On the next time down the course, UC Davis was charged with two exclusions. Stiling converted the rare 6-on-4 goal to notch what proved to be the game-winner.
Sunday's game marks the third time in five years that the Aggies advanced to the WWPA championship game. Furthermore, this is just the third 20-win season in program history.
Peat and Collins each earned first-team All-WWPA Tournament honors, while Hagens represented UC Davis on the second team.
In addition to setting the season saves record, Peat also became the third Aggie goalie to surpass the 1,000-save milestone for his career. He finishes with 1,011. Salit's 83 goals for the year ranks third in UC Davis history, while his lifetime total of 161 puts him sixth all-time.
|#12 UC Davis (22-12)
|#11 UC San Diego (17-9)
GOALS - UC Davis: Aaron Salit 3, Chris Richardson 2, Ryan Hagens 1, Colin Hicks 1. UCSD: Josh Stiling 3, Graham Saber 2, John Butler 2, David Higginson 1.
GOALIE SAVES - UC Davis: Kevin Peat 11 (32:00). UCSD: not available.