Whalen Leads Defensive Win Over Tigers

Kelsey Whalen posted just six saves, but five came in the second half of play, including three on 6-on-5 opportunities. <br>(Mark Honbo, UC Davis Sports Information)
 
Kelsey Whalen posted just six saves, but five came in the second half of play, including three on 6-on-5 opportunities.
(Mark Honbo, UC Davis Sports Information)
 

April 18, 2003

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DAVIS, Calif. --- Senior Beth Jay and sophomore Brittany Russell each scored two goals while goalkeeper Kelsey Whalen posted five second-half saves to lead UC Davis to a 7-3 win over Pacific in a women's Western Water Polo Association game at Hickey Pool Friday.

The Aggies improve to 17-10 on the season. The Tigers drop to 7-20 overall.

Whalen totalled just six saves for the game but had five after the halftime break, including three straight rejections of Pacific 6-on-5 shots. She also had six steals and an assist, setting up Kristin Pfaff on a counterattack to close the first half of play.

"I thought Kelsey had about as good a game as I've seen from her," said UC Davis head coach Jamey Wright. "Maybe she didn't have a lot of saves, but she had good, key saves."

Strong defense highlighted the Aggie win as Russell posted seven steals and Jay nabbed three more. However, only a few of those steals resulted in UC Davis goals as the team shot just 4-for-19 in even-strength situations.

"We had all kinds of opportunities in transition, which is good. We just didn't convert them," said Wright. "Pacific is a good team. They don't give you much."

While the Aggies did not complete a high percentage of their counterattacks, they did convert three of five man-up opportunities. Jay and Missy Duncan both scored 6-on-5 goals to open the game before Tiger two-meter Jessica Schroeder hit the net from six meters out, cutting the lead to 2-1.


 

 

Schroeder tacked on another goal for Pacific in the opening minute of the second period, but Jay responded with her own seven-meter blast to give UC Davis the lead for good. That score kicked off four unanswered goals as the Aggies built a 6-2 halftime lead. Melissa Agee, Russell and Pfaff posted the balance of the goals in that run.

At the 5:07 mark in the third period, Alli Johnstone drew a four-meter ejection from Laura Besmer and Russell dutifully converted the ensuing penalty shot to extend UC Davis' lead to 7-2.

The Aggies never scored after that point, but Whalen's performance kept the Tigers at bay. With 1:22 remaining in the third, Nicole Lorrimer's ejection set up a 6-on-5 opportunity for Pacific. However, Whalen stopped both Tiger shots during that 20-second man-up situation.

The junior goalie stopped yet another 6-on-5 shot early in the fourth quarter before Jessica Melcher broke through for a goal at 3:26 to cut the Aggie lead to 7-3. Whalen also blocked attempts by Schroeder and Kristin Cockerill in the final two minutes of play to protect her team's lead.

UC Davis competes in its final home game Saturday against UC Santa Cruz.

Pacific (7-20)

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1

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UC Davis (17-10)

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7

GOALS - UOP: Jessica Schroeder 2, Jessica Melcher 1. UC Davis: Beth Jay 2, Brittany Russell 2, Missy Duncan 1, Melissa Agee 1, Kristin Pfaff 1.

GOALIES - UOP: Julie Ross 6 saves, 7 goals against. UC Davis: Kelsey Whalen 6 saves, 3 goals against.