Aggies Drop Heartbreaker To Anteaters

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