Raycraft Lifts Aggies To Sudden Victory Over No. 8 Gauchos

Freshman Christi Raycraft scored in the third minute of sudden-victory overtime to lead UC Davis over the 8th-ranked Gauchos Friday.<br>(Wayne Tilcock, <i>Davis Enterprise</i>)
 
Freshman Christi Raycraft scored in the third minute of sudden-victory overtime to lead UC Davis over the 8th-ranked Gauchos Friday.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
 

March 25, 2005

DAVIS, Calif. - Christi Raycraft connected with a goal with 51 seconds remaining in the first sudden-death overtime to lift UC Davis to an 8-7 win over eighth-ranked UC Santa Barbara in a women's collegiate water polo game at Schaal Aquatics Center Friday.

The winning goal came on the sixth overall possession of that seventh period, and the third shot by Raycraft in a span of 90 seconds. She had missed on two previous trips down the tank, but managed to place her third effort just off the fingertips of the Gaucho goalie.

Raycraft, Jessica Soza and Cassie Schaefer each scored two goals to lead the Aggies. Alaina Whitaker and Dana Saign both scored a pair for UCSB.

The Aggies opened with a 3-1 lead, thanks to a goal and assist by Raycraft. However, UCSB scored the next five goals of the game, first getting a back-handed goal by Sarah Kovach to end the opening period. Dana Saign tied the game at 3-3 when her 7-meter heave connected with the Aggie cage as her team's shot clock expired. A 6-on-5 goal from Lindsay Llewellyn later gave the Gauchos a 4-3 lead at the break.

"We came out strong in the beginning, which we did the last time we played them," said UC Davis head coach Jamey Wright. "But UCSB is not ranked eighth for nothing. They lost to Stanford by just one goal. On the other hand, they beat Santa Clara by just 9-8. They're a team that can get hold and cold. So you have to keep playing your game, knowing that they'll have little spurts then little setbacks. You have to keep playing consistently."

Whitaker extended the lead with two goals in the third, putting UC Davis in a 6-3 deficit to enter the fourth quarter. However, the Aggies scraped back into the game to force the overtime. Soza's outside shot ended the long scoring drought, then Jessi Lafayette's 6-on-5 score cut the margin to a single goal with 4:28 left in regulation. Raycraft then assited Schaefer on the game-tying score two minutes later. In the final seconds of the fourth, Jennifer D'Anna intercepted a cross pass to end the Aggies' final effort to take the win before extra frames.

 

 

"I really liked that we did not stop trying even though we were down by three goals," Wright said. "We got Soza's counterattack and then Jessi's 6-on-5 goal was huge. We didn't try to hit a home run. We just kept trying to chip our way back, goal-by-goal, so we could have a chance to win in the end."

Saign hit the upper right corner from the four position to put UCSB up, 7-6, with 38 ticks left in the first overtime. But UC Davis tied the game for the third time when Soza converted yet another 6-on-5 opportunity. The Aggies had a chance to score again before sudden-death took effect when Ashley Greenwood drew an ejection of UCSB sophomore Aimee Stachowski. However, UC Davis was unable to fire a final shot, sending the game to the third overtime period and setting the stage for Raycraft's heroics.

"For a team as young as ours -- Cassie is a sophomore, Katherine [O'Rourke] is a sophomore eligibility, Raycraft and Soza are freshmen -- they kept their composure," said Wright. "I was really impressed. I'm excited that we're now 4-0 in March. We just have to keep it rolling."

Lina Moore had nine saves in net for the Aggies. Her counterpart, Christy Medigovich, recorded eight saves in the Gaucho cage.

UC Davis returns to action with a doubleheader against Hartwick College and UC Santa Cruz on March 29.

UC Santa Barbara 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 - 7
UC Davis 3 0 0 3 0 1 1 - 8

GOALS - UCSB: Alaina Whitaker 2, Dana Saign 2, Nicola Bishop 1, Lindsay Llewellyn 1. UC Davis: Christi Raycraft 2, Cassie Schaefer 2, Jessica Soza 2, Sarah Rees 1, Jessi Lafayette 1.

GOALIE SAVES - UCSB: Christy Medigovich 8. UC Davis: Lina Moore 9.