No. 12 Aggies Head To Tough SoCal Invite

Senior co-captain Matt Vowell tallied 14 assists in five games during last weekend's Aggie Shootout.
(Mark Honbo, Athletics Communications)

Sept. 26, 2012

09.26.12 Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

at SoCal Invitational (Goleta, Calif.)
Saturday, Sept. 29 - vs. UC Irvine, Noon
Saturday, Sept. 29 - vs. California or Air Force, 4:20 or 5:40 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 30 - Opponents TBA

AGGIE SHOOTOUT (Davis, Calif.)
Friday, Sept. 21 - CAL BAPTIST (W, 12-11)
Saturday, Sept. 22 - CLAREMONT-MUDD-SCRIPPS (W, 13-7)
Saturday, Sept. 22 - LA VERNE (W, 15-11)
Sunday, Sept. 23 - CHAPMAN (W, 12-11)
Sunday, Sept. 23 - REDLANDS (W, 16-12)

TO RECAP: No. 12 UC Davis (10-4, 9-1) picked up five wins, including four against Western Water Polo Association foes, at its own Aggie Shootout tournament from Friday through Sunday... Sophomore Chris Richardson scored 19 goals with six assists in the five games, earning a share of Wednesday's KAP7 WWPA Player of the Week award... He was particularly effective on 6-on-5 opportunities, netting 10 of 12...

In fact, UC Davis proved effective overall on exclusions, converting 33 of 54 opportunities for a .611 success rate - more than 150 points higher than the previous conversion rate of .460 (29-for-33)... Aiding this cause was Richardson himself, who drew 10 kickouts... Senior utility Matt Vowell drew 11 exclusions while senior utility Hank Dickey forced nine... Vowell enjoyed a strong all-around weekend, tallying 14 assists and seven field blocks....

Other high-scoring Aggies included Bernie Rogers, Trevor Allen and Colin Hicks, each of whom hit nine goals... Sophomore Teddy Nicholson scored six in Sunday's action, including a career-high four against Redlands... The team's goalkeeper situation also neared resolution, as junior Tony Dito played 16 of the 20 quarters... He posted 36 saves for the weekend.

UP NEXT: The Aggies head to the SoCal Invitational, hosted by UC Santa Barbara... UC Davis is pooled with No. 4 California, No. 5 UC Irvine and No. 14 Air Force, competing at the Dos Pueblos High School site (Goleta)... The SoCal event resembles the NorCal Invite from two weeks ago, in that it features the entire top 12 plus four additional ranked teams.

UC IRVINE (10-1) took a weekend off after placing fifth at the NorCal Invite... Junior Bojan Hrlec scored late in the second overtime to lift the Anteaters over UC Santa Barbara in that tournament's finale... Hrlec and Mitch Wise lead UCI with 32 goals... Wise hit a season-best five goals against UC Davis on Sept. 7... CALIFORNIA (7-3) has lost three straight one-goal games, all against higher ranked teams... Last weekend, the Golden Bears fell to No. 1 USC, 7-6, in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action... Sophomore Aleksa Saponjic and redshirt freshman Colin Mulcahy each hit two goals... Junior Collin Smith leads the Golden Bears with 29 goals... AIR FORCE (5-3, 4-1) returns to action after a one-week bye, having placed 13th at the NorCal Invite back on Sept. 16... Junior Josh Stedman leads the Falcons with 16 goals while senior goalkeeper Mike Fish has 109 saves in eight games.

On the Aggie Shootout: "I'm glad to get the wins, I've got to say. I don't know if it's the 25-meter course or just the fact that those teams are better, but I thought all of the games were very competitive. We played close games, we came from behind - they were real water polo games. In its design, five games are a lot for the guys to play. It's great conditioning and great for mental toughness. The guys handled it well and walked out with five wins."

On the SoCal Invite: "We really want to win that first game. We've played Irvine already and our guys are excited about seeing them again in a neutral site. We have a lot of respect for them because they're a darn good team. I like the guys' mindset. It's 90 percent of the battle. This week, we go in and play all of those talented teams. We want to get the win. But short of that, we want to improve on our 12th seed, which doesn't hinge on winning the first game."

"We look to stay on track. The last two weeks, we've played nine games. The guys have shown some good improvement. Our 6-on-5 was working well last weekend. The guys seemed to like the adjustments we made last week. We gave them a couple of different sets. And that's the thing: we can see what the guys like, see what they're good at, and keep going with it. Now we go to SoCals and see if we can do it against the best teams in the country, to see if the same 6-on-5s against that caliber of teams. It's going to be tough, but that's what the guys want. They are tough-minded."