Aggies Take Winning Streak To Tough UCI Invitational

Jillian Wilding started all four games in place of senior Riane Woods at the Davis Challenge last weekend. She tallied 35 saves (including 12 against No. 20 CSU Bakersfield) against just 21 goals.<br>(Mark Honbo, Athletics Communications)
 
Jillian Wilding started all four games in place of senior Riane Woods at the Davis Challenge last weekend. She tallied 35 saves (including 12 against No. 20 CSU Bakersfield) against just 21 goals.
(Mark Honbo, Athletics Communications)
 

Feb. 18, 2013

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THIS WEEK
at UCI Invitational
Saturday, Feb. 23 - at UC Irvine, 12:45 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 23 - vs. UCLA or UC San Diego
Sunday, Feb. 24 - Opponents TBA

LAST WEEK
DAVIS CHALLENGE
Saturday, Feb. 16 - CAL LUTHERAN (W, 16-3)
Saturday, Feb. 16 - CSU BAKERSFIELD (W, 12-7)
Sunday, Feb. 17 - PACIFIC (W, 12-5)
Sunday, Feb. 17 - SONOMA STATE (W, 8-6)

NOTES
TO RECAP: UC Davis (5-5) picked up its first wins against national Top 20 opposition with victories over No. 18 Pacific and No. 20 CSU Bakersfield as part of a 4-0 weekend in the Davis Challenge... Senior All-Americans Jessica Dunn (6 goals, 11 assists) and Carmen Eggert (10 goals, 7 steals, 6 drawn exclusions, 4 steals) had their usual productive weekends... Local product Keelia Houston continues to impress in her sophomore year, this time tallying 8 goals with 4 assists in 70 minutes... She scored four in the victory over the Tigers Sunday...

However, the Davis Challenge served as a huge breakthrough weekend for sophomore Jillian Wilding, who took over goalkeeping chores while Riane Woods and Haley Cameron sat out due to various injuries... A 2012 walk-on and statistically the team's No. 3 goalkeeper entering the tournament, Wilding played all 128 minutes of the Aggies' four wins, posting 35 saves with just 21 goals against... She also had seven steals (matching Eggert and Alex Rawlinson for the weekend) with three assists, tying her career high of 12 stops in Saturday's nightcap against CSUB... "Jillian stepped up huge this weekend," said head coach Jamey Wright. "I think she inspired everyone else on the team."

UP NEXT: The preseason tournaments continue, this time in the annual UCI Invitational, which features arguably the toughest field of any tourney - including the NCAA Championships... Seeded according to the Feb. 13 national poll, the event has nothing but Top 20 teams...No. 10 Princeton, No. 11 Long Beach State, No. 12 Indiana and No. 19 Michigan are the only ranked teams not in attendance... UC Davis enters the UCI Invitational as the 11th seed, pooled in an all-Regents group of No. 3 UCLA, No. 6 UC Irvine and No. 16 UC San Diego.

UC IRVINE (7-4), the three-time defending Big West Conference champions, leading UCLA 4-3 late in the second half before giving way in a 9-6 setback on Friday night... Hilary Estrada led the Anteaters with a hat trick... Sophomore GK Jillian Yocum entered the weekend with a conference-leading 6.44 GAA... UCLA (13-1) has only fallen to No. 1 Stanford, an 8-5 loss in the finale of the Cardinal's home tourney on Feb. 3... Emily Donohoe, Gisselle Naranjo and Rachel Fattal each scored two goals against the Anteaters on Friday... Donohoe, an MPSF All-Newcomer pick in 2012, leads the Bruins with 30 goals... UC SAN DIEGO (4-4) took a weekend off after finishing eighth at its own Triton Invitational on Feb. 9-10... Junior utility Sarah Lizotte scored seven goals for that weekend, bringing her team-high goals total to 27.

HEAD COACH JAMEY WRIGHT:
"Pacific is legit. They have a solid goalkeeper and that No. 10, Brydie Pye, can shoot the ball as well as anybody. We knew their center was good. When we got out of the pool, I said, `Look at that scoreboard because that's the last time you'll think about that score.' The first half is how it will be the next time. We have to figure out what they're doing and how to counter it. But I can't take away anything from the win - the team did a good job and Keelia gave us a shot in the arm."

"I know it's not appropriate coach talk to say it doesn't matter if we win or lose, but you want to play well enough to win, and if you're in a close game, you want to finish it. That's a skill. Get a good start, hanging in there during the dog-day afternoons, then finishing the games. I thought we played well all weekend and, with the exception of the last game, we finished really well. If you counter well and you finish your 6-on-5s, you give yourself a chance to win, and that's what we did."

On UCI Invite: "We start with a conference opponent again, and Irvine is the highest-ranked team in our conference. I say this will be a good challenge for us. We're getting better and more confident, so let's bring that to an opponent like that and get a better gauge of where we're at. We measure the substance of our victories and losses with the quality of our competition. I look forward to playing four quality games."