Aggies, Falcons Square Off In Key WWPA Showdown

Sophomore Teddy Nicholson scored two goals each against No. 6 Pacific and No. 3 UCLA last weekend.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

Oct. 10, 2012

10.10.12 Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

Saturday, Oct. 13 - at Air Force, Noon PDT

Friday, Oct. 5 - at Pacific (L, 7-16) Sunday, Oct. 7 - UCLA (L, 8-16)

TO RECAP: No. 17 UC Davis (11-9, 10-2) squared off against back-to-back Top 10 teams for the first time all season, losing to No. 6 Pacific on the road by a 16-7 final then falling against No. 3 UCLA at home... The Aggies played particularly tough in a valiant second-half comeback against the Bruins, cutting an 8-1 halftime deficit to a 10-6 tally early in the fourth... Sophomore Chris Richardson scored four goals against UCLA while sophomores Teddy Nicholson and Trevor Allen each totaled four for the weekend (two in each game)... Senior Anders MacCarthy nabbed three steals and senior Colin Hicks had two steals and two drawn kickouts against Pacific.

THE WWPA RACE: Unlike traditional conference schedules, the Wester Water Polo Association does not have a set league slate... All matchups between member institutions count toward the conference record... If the season ended today, the top seed would go to No. 9 Loyola Marymount, which has a 7-1 WWPA record but a 2-1 mark against UC San Diego... The second seed would be the Tritons, whose only losses are to the Lions... UCSD would hold the edge over UC Davis by virtue of its 11-3 win at the NorCal Invite, and against Air Force due to two series wins this year... At 6-2, Air Force's only WWPA losses have been to UCSD, while the 12-11 victory over UC Davis would give the Falcons the edge for the No. 3 seed... However, an Aggie win on Saturday would flip the positions... Santa Clara (6-6 in WWPA) has conference losses to UC Davis (twice), Air Force (twice), LMU and La Verne.

UP NEXT: UC Davis travels to Air Force for a rare out-of-state, regular-season contest... The last time the Aggies played a contest outside the Golden State's boundaries was in November 2007, at the WWPA Championship at Air Force... UC Davis faced both Cal and AFA in Colorado in September 2006... #13 AIR FORCE (7-6, 6-2) beat #18 Santa Clara in its home opener, 14-9, having played in three road tournaments in September... Junior Josh Stedman scored five goals with an assist, a steal and two drawn ejections in the win... Stedman leads the Falcons in goals (26) and steals (16) while Cruz Smithson had 17 goals and eight assists... Senior GK Mike Fish has 172 saves in 13 games.

"I have two quotes for my team. I credit [UC Davis cross country/track & field coach] Drew Wartenburg for this but I tell the guys `never count an Aggie out.' That's what he said about his runner [Kim Conley], and it shows in the way the guys play. They have had key comebacks against Long Beach State and now UCLA. This team is very tough, and they've demonstrated that they will play for four quarter."

"The other thing is that we're in the middle of a journey. We've had injuries and other real-life things. The road gets bumpy. So I tell them, `tough times don't last, tough people do.' That's where we are in the season. I want these guys to know that. This team is tough-minded and they know what their goals are. I think they're staying focused on our goal of winning conference, even when dealing with things that happen as you travel down that path."

"As a teacher, it's very gratifying to talk about a concept and see the guys run it. Now it's the execution: doing it at a high level in a very intense game. In that UCLA game, I saw a lot of good things. Our passing was not as crisp as it could be or as it will be later, and UCLA makes it harder to execute. I tell them I don't care who we play against or what the score is, I just want to see good water polo. And after the game against UCLA, you got the sense that we played good water polo. People who watched the game would get that sense. The guys want to win. They're not happy. But from my standpoint, I don't look at the scoreboard or the name on the cap. So when we're teaching and they work it out in a game, it's rewarding for me."

On playing Air Force: "What a great challenge. For me, it's rewarding. This team hasn't been there. They will get to play in a different state, to play at a national academy - this is what the college water polo experience is about. Air Force is a very good team, a much-improved team. It's an indoor pool. It's at altitude. This will be a very important part of the season that they have to deal with, and I think the guys are ready. It's another brick to build our season on."