DAVIS, Calif. - Two road victories against Loyola Marymount and UC San Diego wrapped up the Western Water Polo Association season for UC Davis, closing up a 7-0 conference season, finalizing a regular-season title, and securing the top seed in the WWPA tournament. Now just nine days away from the three-day championship bracket, the No. 9 Aggies look to stay sharp with a non-conference road tilt at No. 5 Pacific. Game time is 7 p.m. at Chris Kjeldsen Pool.
Both of the previous weekend's games may show up under the "W" column but each took a different flavor. Thursday's 22-5 victory over LMU is the most lopsided in the two team's series history, eclipsing the previous high of 15, set in a 25-10 win on Sept. 4, 1993. Saturday's showdown with the No. 12 Tritons was more hard-fought, with UC Davis playing the role of pursuer for the first 12 minutes of play. The Aggies took a 9-6 lead late in the first half, but UCSD generally kept pace throughout the second.
According to Daniel Leyson, UC Davis' Child And Meisel Families Director of Men's Water Polo, the team and coaches expected a tough game. After all, the Tritons were also undefeated in conference, they were playing at their home course -- which will also serve as the WWPA tourney venue -- and had the entire week to prepare for the incoming Aggies. Meanwhile, UC Davis had a Thursday contest against a quality opponent, a day off for travel from Los Angeles to San Diego, then the hostile environment that is Canyonview Aquatic Center.
"I salute our guys for having to put up with adverse conditions and coming away from a victory. It was not easy," said Leyson. "We know that they are a very tough opponent, very difficult to play against when they're home. We expected nothing less from UC San Diego, and they gave it to us."
Junior Ido Goldschmidt and sophomore Yurii Hanley were the top Aggie scorers for the weekend, each tallying seven goals. Goldschmidt netted a season-best five in the LMU win. Hanley shot 7-for-8 with six assists, a drawn kickout and a drawn five-meter for an outstanding overall weekend. As has been the case for UC Davis throughout the year, scoring came from all corners of the roster, with Cory Laidig, Marcus Anderson, Colter Knight, Kyle Reilly, Jack Stafford and Morgan Olson-Fabbro netting at least one goal in each win.
More importantly, the Aggies came away with the experience of playing at the WWPA tourney site against what will be the No. 2-seeded host. "From my end, I think it's really valuable," said Leyson. "We had the opportunity to go to San Diego twice and to have a really intense conference game. If we see them again, it will be like that. I know their coach is saying it was valuable to them because now they have played us a little big closer and they've seen how it will be."
Bridging the gap between the conference season and the conference championship is No. 5 Pacific, the Aggies' highest-ranked opponent since taking on No. 1 California back on September 6. This is the second straight year that Coach Leyson has inserted the Tigers into this slot of the schedule. In each of the 2013 and 2015 seasons, UC Davis had byes heading into the WWPA tourney. Playing one of the nation's elite teams should help keep the Aggies sharp, says Leyson.
"This is a great way for us to maintain game rhythm and game shape. It's a great opportunity to play a really tough team on the road. I'm looking forward to it."
Saturday's game will have live stats via TheFOSH (http://www.thefosh.net/livestats.php?gameid=3198).
SKIP SHOTS: Saturday's 15-12 win over UCSD marked the Aggies' 22nd consecutive WWPA regular-season win, a streak that dates back to Halloween night of 2014 against then-No. 6 UC San Diego... Daniel Leyson now has four undefeated WWPA seasons in his five seasons at the helm: 5-0, in 2013, 6-0 in each of 2015 and 2016, 7-0 in 2017... In the seven conference games, junior Ido Goldschmidt led the team in goals (18) and total points (29)... Senior Spencer Galli paced UC Davis in steals (12), senior Morgan Olson-Fabbro in drawn exclusions (15), sophomore Holden Tamblyn in assists (13)... In all, five Aggies scored 10 or more goals in conference: Goldschmidt, Marcus Anderson (14), Olson-Fabbro (11), Yurii Hanley (10) and Colter Knight (10)... Goldschmidt's total of 53 goals for the year marks a career high with at least four games remaining in 2017, while his 151 career scores puts him eighth in school history (dating back to 1993). The managerial economics third-year needs just 11 goals to pass Aaron Salit (2007-11) for seventh, 12 to move ahead of Ryan Indart (1993-96) for sixth.
ABOUT UC DAVIS: 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.
DON'T MISS OUT!: Season and single-game tickets for all UC Davis fall and winter sports are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.