Needles' Goal Prevents Aggie Upset Of Golden Bears

Melissa Agee scored two game-tying goals as UC Davis took No. 5 UC Berkeley to overtime in its home opener.<br>(Photo by Wayne Tilcock, <i>Davis Enterprise</i>)
 
Melissa Agee scored two game-tying goals as UC Davis took No. 5 UC Berkeley to overtime in its home opener.
(Photo by Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
 

Feb. 16, 2003

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DAVIS, Calif. --- Jodie Needles' backhand shot with 53 seconds remaining in overtime lifted No. 5 UC Berkeley to a 7-5 victory over No. 16 UC Davis in a women's collegiate water polo match at Hickey Gym Sunday. Teammate Cara Chlebicki added a goal for the Golden Bears at 0:20 to preserve the win and prevent an Aggie upset.

UC Davis evens its record at 5-5 for the season. Cal improves to 3-2 overall.

"After the game, I told the team that beating Cal would have pumped us up, but it wouldn't get us to the NCAA playoffs," said Aggie head coach Jamey Wright. "What will get us a shot to the NCAAs is playing this well and bringing this type of effort to the pool every day."

Needles and Brittany Hansen each scored two goals to lead the Golden Bears, while junior Melissa Agee led the Aggies with two goals. Both of Agee's goals game at crucial points for UC Davis. Her first score tied the game at 4-4 in the fourth period, helping force the overtime period. Agee's second goal came from a Beth Jay feed with 2:11, tying the score at 5-5 as the 35-second clock expired.

After a 1-1 first quarter that featured goals by Hansen and UC Davis junior Alli Johnstone, Cal took its first lead at the 4:28 mark when Cami Kliner punched in a four-meter penalty shot. Two minutes later, Aggie freshman Kristin Pfaff tied the game at 2-2 when her shot tipped off goalkeeper Lauren Dennis' fingers and rolled into the cage as the shot clock sounded. UC Davis showed strong defense in three Golden Bear 6-on-5 situations in the second period, including a Kelsey Whalen steal of Breana Allison's rebound in front of the cage. Aggie Brittany Russell finished the first half of play with a one-on-one goal at the buzzer, giving her team a 3-2 lead at the break.


 

 

"I thought we did a good job denying and pressuring Cal," said Wright. "Beth Jay is so good on one-on-one defense that I think sometimes others forget to come help on defense."

Both teams demonstrated excellent defense on the stat sheet as Cal earned 29 steals and UC Davis tallied 21. Whalen led the Aggies with six of those steals to go with her 10 saves.

Goalkeeper Kelsey Whalen was among UC Davis' defensive heroines against Cal, posting 10 saves -- including four in the first half of the overtime period -- and six steals..


Needles tied the game at 3-3 with her counter-attack goal with 4:31 in the third period. Whalen knocked down Katie Card's attempt to give Cal a lead at the 3:46 mark, but Card gained redemption with her 6-on-5 score with 2:35 remaining, putting the Golden Bears up 4-3 after three quarters.

Cal failed on two early 6-on-5 breaks in the fourth period and Whalen notched her fifth save when she stopped Allison Gold's backhand attempt in front of the Aggie cage. With 2:16 remaining, Russell's tough 2-meter defense allowed Whalen to claim another steal, which led to Agee's first game-tying goal.

Russell made two attempts to win the game in regulation, but both shots sailed high. Needles also had a chance to claim a regulation win for Cal, but Whalen was there to strip the ball before the Golden Bear sophomore could shoot.

Needles would get another chance early in the overtime period when she stole Johnstone's entry pass and advanced to the UC Davis cage on a counter attack. However, Whalen blocked back-to-back shots to keep the score at 4-4. The Golden Bears finally took a 5-4 lead when Chlebicki beat out Jay for a loose-ball scramble and set up Hansen for a score with 1:51 remaining in the first half of overtime.

Agee's second game-tying goal came as a result of a Johnstone steal and an Hansen's subsequent ejection. Agee scored her second goal as Cal returned to even strength at the 2:11 mark. Needles missed two shots in the waning minutes before hitting her winning goal at 0:53.

UC Davis remains at home for the next week, hosting Santa Clara on February 21, then the eight-team Davis Shootout tournament on February 22 and 23.

UC Berkeley (3-2)

1

1

2

0

3

-

7

UC Davis (5-5)

1

2

0

1

1

-

5

GOALS - Cal: Jodie Needles 2, Brittany Hansen 2, Cami Kliner 1, Cara Chlebicki 1, Katie Card 1. UC Davis: Melissa Agee 2, Alli Johnstone 1, Kristin Pfaff 1, Brittany Russell 1.

GOALIE SAVES - Cal: Lauren Dennis 7. UC Davis: Kelsey Whalen 10.