Aggies Drop Heartbreaker To Anteaters

Sophomore Keelia Houston had two steals and assisted goals by Erin Schlueter and Carmen Eggert in the first half.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

March 29, 2013

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DAVIS, Calif. - Freshman Cambria Shockley scored on a free throw with no time remaining to lift seventh-ranked UC Irvine to a 7-6 win over 15th-ranked UC Davis in Big West Conference women's water polo action at Schaal Aquatics Center Friday afternoon.

The Aggies have now lost five one-goal games in the month of March, falling to 12-13 overall and 0-4 in conference play. The Anteaters improve to 14-7 for the year and 2-1 in Big West action.

Senior Carmen Eggert scored two goals for UC Davis while Erin Schlueter, Jessica Dunn, Kathryn Bailey and Elsie Fullerton each added one. Eggert also drew a pair of exclusions and blocked three shots. For UCI, freshman center McKenna Mitchell scored two goals, including one of four power-play conversions.

Although Eggert drew first blood on the game's opening possession, UC Davis had to battle back from an early deficit to take a 4-3 halftime edge. Mitchell scored twice in a span of less than a minute and Hannah Crogan fired in a 6-on-5 goal during a 3-0 first-quarter run for the `Eaters. Aggie sophomore Keelia Houston assisted Erin Schlueter on a weakside goal to narrow the gap to 3-2 with 17 seconds left in the first period.

UC Davis shut down UC Irvine to 0-for-6 shooting while reclaiming the lead with a pair of goals in the second. Eggert took a pass from Houston, then fired in a skip shot that caromed off the head of Anteater goalie Jillian Yocum and barred into the cage at the 6:59 mark. Later in the frame, Dunn drew an exclusion and converted her own 6-on-5 opportunity on an assist from Paige Oreglia with 2:23 left. That put the Aggies up by one going to the break.

UCI wasted little time in erasing the deficit. Senior attacker Layne Kipp outraced the Aggie defense on a long counterattack to equalize to 4-4 less than a minute into the third. UC Davis had a rare 6-on-4 opportunity on the next possession but an errant pass ended the threat. Still, the Aggies regained the lead when Kathryn Bailey - making her first appearance since injuring her hand at the UCI Invite - walked up and fired in a cross-cage shot at the 5:31 mark.

The Aggies protected that lead for the rest of the third period, mostly with key field saves. Dunn stuffed Kipp's shot from the one spot with 3:35 left, Eggert knocked down a Croghan attempt with 2:50 remaining, then Dunn stopped the second of two 6-on-5 attempts in the final minutes of the quarter.

Senior Kelsey Klatt knotted the score for a third time early in the fourth with a power-play goal, then Irvine took its first lead since the initial quarter when Taylor Morrison converted another extra-man opportunity. UC Davis made it 6-6 with its only successful 6-on-5 of the second half. Oreglia sent a pass right to the outstretched hand of Fullerton, who promptly steered the ball into the high left corner, tying the contest with 1:19 left.

Neither team could score on the their next possessions until the Anteaters took control on a ball-under violation with 17 seconds remaining. UCI called a timeout and attempted to draw up a last-chance score. Shockley drew a minor foul at the five-meter line with mere seconds left. She lobbed her free throw just beyond the reach of Aggie goalie Riane Woods, scoring the game-winner a fraction of a second before the buzzer.

Friday's setback marks the third time UC Davis has lost a Big West contest in the final minute. Cal State Northridge scored its game-winner with 53 seconds left back on March 8, then UC Santa Barbara's Jessie Porter hit her go-ahead with 10 seconds remaining just a day later.

The Aggies host Long Beach State for continued conference play on Saturday. First sprint is now at 3 p.m., a recent change from the previously scheduled noon start.

#7 UC Irvine (14-7, 2-1) 3 0 1 3 - 7
#15 UC Davis (12-13, 0-4) 2 2 1 1 - 6

GOALS - UCI: McKenna Mitchell 2, Hannah Croghan 1, Layne Kipp 1, Kelsey Klatt 1, Taylor Morrison 1, Cambria Shockley 1. UC Davis: Carmen Eggert 2, Erin Schlueter 1, Jessica Dunn 1, Kathryn Bailey 1, Elsie Fullerton 1.

GOALIE SAVES - UCI: Jillian Yocum 6 (32:00). UC Davis: Riane Woods 11 (32:00).