No. 8 Aggies rematch with No. 9 Waves

Sept. 20, 2017

Mountain Pacific Invitational Central

DAVIS, Calif. -- Roughly five days after defeating then-No. 8 Pepperdine by a 7-5 final at its Aggie Roundup tournament, UC Davis returns to action at the Mountain Pacific Invitational with a first-round matchup against... the very same Pepperdine. The Aggies and Waves, who swapped spots in Wednesday’s national poll, square off at 1:20 p.m. on Friday, then meet either Cal or Air Force in the second round on Saturday morning.

The Mountain Pacific Invite, held jointly at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center and Loyola Marymount’s Burns Recreation Center, was formerly the SoCal Invitational until the NorCal and SoCal tourneys combined into a one three-day water polo extravaganza that now alternates on either half of the state. UC Davis is the ninth seed of the tourney and the No. 3 seed of Bracket A. USC, Stanford and UCLA head their respective brackets. 

The rest of the 16-team field comprises Pacific, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Princeton, UC San Diego, LMU, Pomona-Pitzer, San Jose State and Air Force. The first- through 15th-place games take place on Sunday.

To Daniel Leyson, UC Davis’ Child And Meisel Families Director of Men’s Water Polo, the rest of that field matters far less than the Friday opponent. “I expect Pepperdine to give us everything, their absolute best performance. That game will be our focus all week, and then we’ll just go from there.”

The Aggies went 3-1 at their annual home tournament, a run that included a 12-9 Western Water Polo Association win over Cal Baptist, a 10-8 heartbreaker loss to then-No. 6 Long Beach State, the 7-5 victory over the Waves, and a 16-3 tourney finale against Redlands. Freshman goalkeeper Jonah Addington arguably had his best weekend in his young collegiate career: eight quarters of play, with 25 saves against just 11 goals allowed. On Sunday, he stopped 12 shots in the win over Pepperdine. Hours later, he relieved starter R.J. Quigley in front of the cage, and posted two shutout quarters with eight saves against Redlands.

As has been the staple for UC Davis, no single player dominated the offensive sheet, but rather numerous players contributed on offense at different times. Senior center Morgan Olson-Fabbro had the best Aggie single game for the weekend, thanks to four goals in Thursday’s league win over CBU.  Junior Riley Venne also had a hat trick against the Lancers. Junior Ido Goldschmidt netted two goals each against the Top 10 opponents. Thirteen different Aggies scored against the Bulldogs, with only Marcus Anderson, Keenan Anderson and Joseph Gomez providing multiple strikes.

Coach Leyson voiced his approval of his season’s start, and echoed the words of Dan Hawkins, UC Davis’ first-year football coach, whose team has also opened with decisive victories. 

“Like Coach Hawkins said, our players deserve to feel good,” said Leyson. “They have been working so hard that they deserve confidence. Our results are very solid. We had a disappointing game against Long Beach that we should have won. Our game against Pepperdine was great in so many ways in that we were up by a lot and we held on, but we also had the opportunity to go up by even more. So there are always things where we say, ‘Once we start to do this, it’s really going to be something.’ That’s how we look at it. 

“Overall, I’m very pleased with our progress so far, and our guys deserve to feel good about that they have accomplished so far, and yet they would be the first ones to tell you that we have a long way to go.”

PEPPERDINE (12-2) went 3-1 at the Aggie Roundup, combining for 41 goals in its wins over San Jose State, Redlands and Whittier. Junior utility and 2016 Gold Coast Conference Player of the Year Marko Asic scored 11 times over the weekend, upping his team-high total to 31. CALIFORNIA (8-0) remained unbeaten thanks to a 20-10 win over UC San Diego to close out a four-game homestand. The defending NCAA champs have had two of their closest scares against UC Santa Barbara (8-7) and Pepperdine (8-6). Luca Cupido and Odysseas Masmanidis lead Cal with 18 and 17 goals scored, respectively. AIR FORCE (1-5), which lost to UC Davis by a 12-8 final in the season-opening Triton Invite, picked up its first win in defeating Cal Lutheran, 15-8, on Friday. George Millard and Davis product Garrett Fisk each scored three goals in the win.

SKIP SHOTS: Junior goalie R.J. Quigley captured HERO Sports Men’s Water Polo HERO of the Week thanks to his three saves in the first half against San Jose State back on September 9... The selection is based on fan vote (with an assist from social media)... Quigley beat out second-place candidate Chasen Travisano of UCLA by 54 votes... UC Davis and Pepperdine have played to margins of two goals or fewer in each of their last six meetings, with a 3-3 record for each team in that span... The higher ranked team prevailed on three of those occasions: this year (#9 Aggies beat #8 Waves, 7-5); Sept. 6, 2015 (#13 Aggies beat #8 Waves, 9-7), and Oct. 12, 2014 (#12 Waves beat #11 Aggies, 10-9)... In the 2016 showdown, both teams shared the #8 spot in the national poll.

Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation’s best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.

Season and single-game tickets for all UC Davis fall sports are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at