Aggie Comeback Falls Short Against No. 8 Hawai'i

Jillian Wilding posted seven of her 10 saves in the first half, setting the stage for her team's comeback bid.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

April 25, 2014

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Junior attacker Keelia Houston and sophomore center Allyson Hansen each scored two goals, three times bringing the Aggies to within a one-goal deficit, but 19th-ranked UC Davis ultimately fell short of its comeback effort in a 7-6 loss to 8th-ranked Hawai'i in the second quarterfinal of the Big West Conference women's water polo championship tournament at Campus Pool Friday afternoon.

The Aggies move to 12-18 for the year. The Rainbow Wahine improves to 18-9.

Houston and Hansen scored all of their goals in the second half. Junior goalkeeper Jillian Wilding totaled 10 saves with a pair of steals. Freshman Carla Tocchini drew first blood with her goal at 6:21 in the first before UH ran off for four unanswered. Sophomore Paula Chilida Esforzado hit two in that stretch, senior Danielle Lewis converted a 6-on-5 chance and freshman Claire Nixon scored on a counterattack in that stretch, with ended just two minutes into the second quarter.

However, Wilding kept her team in the hunt with seven saves before the halftime break, at which the `Bows still held on to that 4-1 edge.

Houston drew a kickout then assisted Hansen for a power-play goal out of two meters midway in the third, then sophomore Courtney Weddle drew a five-meter on the Aggies' next trip down. Houston hit the penalty shot to bring the score to 4-3. Hawai'i immediately answered with Emily Carr's 6-on-5 goal from the outside.

UC Davis again cut the deficit to a single goal only to have UH immediately bump the lead back to two: Hansen's backhanded shot made it 5-4 at the 1:09 mark, but senior Danielle Lewis found junior Zoe Respondek open at the three spot. Respondek buried her shot with one second left in the period, setting the board at 5-3.



The pattern continued into the fourth. Hansen delivered an entry pass to senior Hannah Curran, who fired into the cage by the nearside post to cut the margin back to one. However, Lewis launched a bomb from some seven meters out to restore the Wahine lead to two.

Houston hit her second goal on a long fall-away lob, putting UC Davis back to a single-goal deficit with 1:37 left in regulation. The Aggies quickly regained possession on a Hawai'i turnover but were unable to equalize. UH took possession with 23 seconds and ran out the clock for the win.

The Aggies will face No. 13 UC Santa Barbara in Sunday's fifth-place game. First sprint is 10:30 a.m.

#19 UC Davis (12-18) 1 0 3 2 - 6
#8 Hawai'i (18-9) 3 1 2 1 - 7

GOALS - UC Davis: Keelia Houston 2, Allyson Hansen 2, Carla Tocchini 1, Hannah Curran 1. UH: Paula Chilida Esforzado 2, Danielle Lewis 2, Claire Nixon 1, Zoe Respondek 1.

GOALIE SAVES - UC Davis: Jillian Wilding 10 (32:00). UH: not available.