April 14, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Senior defender Alicia Began planted a goal inside the left post with nine seconds remaining in the game to lift No. 11 UC Davis to a 9-8 win over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara in a Big West Conference women's water polo thriller at Schaal Aquatics Center Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies improve to 15-12 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The Gauchos, who entered the contest in a tie for second place with their hosts, fall to 18-13 for the season and 2-2 in league.
Began, junior utility Jessica Dunn and senior attacker Ariel Feeney each tallied two goals, while Elsie Fullerton, Hannah Curran and Carmen Eggert each had one. Senior goalkeeper Rachel Tatusko, who entered the game after halftime, tallied five saves against three goals allowed.
For the Gauchos, junior utility Rachel Nelson performed a hat trick. Goalkeeper Ruth Milne had nine saves, including three on Aggie 6-on-5 chances.
The contest featured a total of six ties and two lead changes. After UC Davis had crafted a 3-2 edge through the first period, Nelson knotted the game with her shot from up top early in the second. Shelby Haroldson assisted freshman Lauren Martin for a goal at the 5:17 mark to give the Gauchos a one-goal lead, but the Aggies answered with three straight. Fullerton drew a five-meter penalty and Dunn converted the penalty shot to tie thegame at 4-4 with 4:39 remaining. Eggert assisted Began inside for a goal less than a minute later, then Curran turned and fired from two meters with 17 ticks in the half to make it 6-4.
Shortly before the half, UC Davis was charged on a double-exclusion -- including one on junior goalie Riane Woods. Bryce Winton hit the rare 6-on-4 goal against the unmanned cage to cut the Aggie lead to 6-5 at the break.
Each team managed one score in the third. Nelson completed her hat trick with an outside shot with 5:01 on the game clock, tying the contest at 6-all. Eggert hit a second-chance shot to complete a 6-on-5 opportunity with 4:26 left.
The back-and-forth continued into the fourth. After UCSB defender Kacey Creek bombed in an outside shot to knot the game at 8-8, UC Davis' defense came through. Senior Dakotah Mohr posted a key field block then drew an exclusion with less than two minutes to go. Although the Aggies could not finish the power play, Eggert blocked a Gaucho exclusion shot with 42 seconds. UC Davis head coach Jamey Wright called his final timeout to draw up a play.
As the shot clock wound down, Eggert flipped the ball over to Began just beyond the five-meter area. She was fouled, then fired in the free throw toward the left side of the cage, out of the reach of Milne and into the net.
Winton managed to unload a desperation shot in hopes to send the game to overtime but was much too far from the cage to pose a serious threat.
Saturday's game was delayed by more than three hours. The game was originally scheduled for noon. However, a scheduling conflict with the officials forced a last-ditch solution: the two referees from the Pacific-Cal State Northridge game made the drive from Stockton to officiate the UC Davis-UCSB game.
The Tiger-Matador game also figured into the contest. Saturday's victory, paired with Cal State Northridge's upset loss to Pacific earlier in the day, puts the Aggies in sole possession of second place. UC Davis finishes the weekend and the Big West slate with a noon game against the 18th-ranked Matadors on Sunday.
|#15 UC Santa Barbara (18-13, 2-2)||2||3||1||2||-||8|
|#11 UC Davis (15-12, 3-1)||3||3||1||2||-||9|
GOALS - UCSB: Rachel Nelson 3, Molly Hafferkamp 1, Bryce Winton 1, Lauren Martin 1, Shelby Haroldson 1, Kacey Creek 1. UC Davis: Jessica Dunn 2, Ariel Feeney 2, Alicia Began 2, Elsie Fullerton 1, Hannah Curran 1, Carmen Eggert 1.