March 31, 2012
STOCKTON, Calif. - Senior center Dakotah Mohr fired in a backhanded shot with eight seconds remaining to lift 11th-ranked UC Davis to an 8-7 win over Pacific in Big West Conference women's water polo action at Chris Kjeldsen Pool Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies win their eighth straight game, improving to 13-11 overall and 1-0 in conference. The Tigers slip to 9-13 and open Big West play at 0-1.
Senior Ariel Feeney tallied three goals and three steals while junior goalkeeper Riane Woods had nine saves. Junior attacker Carmen Eggert added a complete game: two goals, three assists, two steals and three drawn exclusions. Alicia Began and Jessica Dunn each scored to round out the UC Davis offense. Began also had a team-high four steals.
For Pacific, senior two-meter Kim Kay netted four goals, all in the second half. Freshman Taylor Adair also scored two goals while Brydie Pye had one before fouling out of the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Michelle Relton collected 10 saves, including four straight in the second quarter.
Mohr's heroics ended a back-and-forth battle between the two region rivals. Eggert scored on a first-quarter lob then assisted Feeney at the 2:36 mark, then Began finished a counterattack with less than a minute remaining in the second to provide UC Davis with a 3-1 lead at halftime.
The Tigers responded with a 3-0 run after the break. Adair scored from the one spot as the shot clock expired at 7:28 in the third, Kay converted an assist from Pye at the 4:38 mark to equalize, then Adair completed a 6-on-5 chance to give Pacific a 4-3 lead. UC Davis tied the game with 1:17 to go when Eggert drew a kickout and Feeney's shot slipped through Relton's hands into the cage. But the Tigers answered on the next possession: Kay won inside water down low and planted a go-ahead shot with 45 ticks on the third-quarter clock.
Kay hit a cross-cage shot early in the fourth to put Pacific up by a 6-4 advantage. However, as their hosts had done to them in the third, the Aggies scored three unanswered in the fourth quarter. Dunn's steal of a Tiger entry pass led to her own counterattack goal at 5:41. Woods stuffed a Malena Prlain shot then delivered a long outlet pass to Feeney less than a minute later, evening the score at 6-6.
A Feeney steal set up another transition goal, one that put UC Davis up by a 7-6 margin. Began drew Relton well out of the Tiger cage. When Pacific committed a minor foul, Eggert found herself with a free throw and a relatively unguarded goal. She placed an offspeed shot out of the reach of the retreating Relton.
"One of the things we talked about before the game was that I thought we were the faster team and we could counter better," said Aggie head coach Jamey Wright. "Also, they don't sub as much as we do; we sub a fair amount. So we started out the fourth quarter pretty fresh. Riane made some perfect passes, and our swimming and our speed finally came through for us."
UC Davis missed two shots in an attempt to lengthen its lead, then Kay tied the contest for a fourth time when her two-meter attempt glanced off Woods' fingers and into the net.
Wright cited two key defensive plays that helped the Aggies hold off the Tigers late in the game. Lyndsay Sutterley scored a huge steal at two meters to quell what would have been a point-blank Pacific shot with 1:08 left, and Woods smothered Kay's attempt for a fifth goal 30 seconds later.
The Aggies called a 30-second timeout to set up a final possession. With Carey Faber out on the right flank, the Tigers had to move out to honor the ball and her strong left-handed shot. This left Mohr one-on-one at two meters. Faber sent a pass to Mohr, who spun and sent her back-handed shot low into the cage with eight seconds left. The Tigers could only manage a desperation shot at the end, preserving the win for UC Davis.
"If you can get the ball to Dakotah at two meters, good things can happen," said Wright. "We ran the same play we had run 30 seconds earlier. Having Carey there, they have to guard her because she has a cannon. It created some space for Koty, which gives us a great chance to win the game."
UC Davis continues Big West play in a Southern California road trip, facing UC Irvine and Long Beach State on Saturday and Sunday.
|#11 UC Davis (13-11, 1-0)||2||1||1||4||-||8|
|Pacific (9-13, 0-1)||1||0||4||2||-||7|
GOALIE SAVES - UC Davis: Riane Woods 9 (32:00). Pacific: Michelle Relton 10 (32:00).
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