Feb. 25, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. -
After a 14th-place finish in the stacked UCI Invitational field last weekend, the UC Davis women's water polo team sets its sights on the Silicon Valley, where the Aggies will take on Concordia and host Santa Clara in a doubleheader at the Sullivan Aquatic Center on Saturday.
Rarely has the folly of measuring a team solely on wins and losses been more evident than the team's performance in Orange County on Saturday and Sunday. UC Davis arguably played its best water polo in the 8-5 loss to the host Anteaters on Saturday, and enjoyed the most constructive gains in the narrow setbacks to No. 16 UC Santa Barbara and No. 18 San Diego State.
The Last Meeting
March 2, 2013
No. 14 Aggies Sweep Saturday Tripleheader
Aggie Shootout Results Central
Seniors Carmen Eggert and Jessica Dunn scored a combined 17 goals to lead 14th-ranked UC Davis to three wins on the first day of action at the 33rd Aggie Shootout women's water polo tournament at Schaal Aquatics Center Saturday. The Aggies beat Concordia, 14-9; Santa Clara, 8-4; and Colorado State, 13-6.
The tourney opener with UCI stood as a marked improvement over the previous matchup, an 11-4 loss at Stanford back on February 1. The `Eaters jumped out to a fast start but the Aggies never bowed out. "They came at us with the kitchen sink in the first quarter, but we were able to withstand it. Then we just started chipping away," said UC Davis head coach Jamey Wright. "You could tell at the end of the game that Irvine was extremely frustrated because they had to expend so much energy to win the game, and they had really targeted Cal as the game they wanted to win.
"I looked at the game like we were playing with house money. They're supposed to win that game. We wanted to show significant improvement from the last time we played them, which I think we got."
The primary focus of the previous week's training, and thus the main goal of the weekend, was to shore up play on exclusion situations, both on 6-on-5 offense and 5-on-6 defense. UC Davis certainly hit that mark on the attacking end, improving to a .655 success rate on power plays. The two-meter trio of senior Hannah Curran, sophomore Allyson Hansen and freshman Carla Tocchini combined for 18 total goals for the weekend, and 12 on advantage situations.
"It's hard to explain to non-water polo fans, so I think of it as being like the red zone in football," said Wright. "You're going to get into the red zone a certain number of times. If you come away with no score or only a field goal, it's disappointing. Same thing with 6-on-5s. If you come away with no goal or without even getting a good shot off, it's disappointing."
The Hall of Fame coach also made sure his entire roster saw plenty of minutes, even in the tightest games. A total of 13 players appeared in all four games. True freshmen Tocchini and Hannah Harvey, redshirt freshman Bryn Lutz and sophomore Sammi Murphy saw an uptick in minutes played. Senior Alex Rawlinson, who stepped up during the Aggie Shootout when Erin Schlueter went down with injury, also logged 70 minutes in the water.
"Experientially, we are very young team. We're still finding our way. So I'm playing a bigger rotation because I have to get people in," said Wright. "I can't expect them to get it done in conference if I don't get them in tough situations now."
Furthermore, Wright seeks looks to tidy up the defense, not only in goals allowed but in terms of opportunities granted. During the Aggie Shootout, UC Davis allowed 53 percent of 34 power plays to score, resulting in 18 goals. At Irvine, the team improved to a 43 percent clip on 5-on-6 defense. However, with 42 exclusions committed, the net effect was... 18 goals. Working on individual defense, according to Wright, will allow the Aggies to make adjustments to the game conditions.
"As I told the team, our conference championship will be down here. We'll have the same officials and see the same teams. So we have to become better individual defenders."
SKIP SHOTS: The Aggies continue to gain substantial offensive output from two meters... Centers Allyson Hansen (26), Hannah Curran (23) and Carla Tocchini (22) account for almost 42 percent of the team's 171 total goals, and almost half (30) of the team's total 6-on-5 goals (64)... Curran needs just 10 goals to hit the century mark for her career... Besides her total goals, Hansen leads UC Davis in total points (37), exclusions drawn (40), five-meters drawn (7)... Despite the overall playing time spread throughout the roster, junior Keelia Houston (23.1) and sophomore Ariel Arcidiacono (20.3) have managed to average more than 20 minutes per game... Houston logged 107 minutes of tank time at UCI, 20 more than any other Aggie.
CONCORDIA (1-9) has not faced collegiate competition since a tough 11-10 loss to Pomona-Pitzer at Cal Baptist's Lancer Mini Invite back on Feb. 1... The Eagles' lone victory was an 11-8 win over Cal State Monterey Bay in Santa Barbara on Jan. 24... Freshman center Kayla Walsh leads CUI with 13 goals... No. 17 SANTA CLARA (3-7) has lost six straight since posting three consecutive wins over Michigan, Cal State Monterey Bay and San Diego State from Jan. 31-Feb. 8... Julia Peters and Kaitlyn Murphy have scored 13 goals each while Claire Eadington paces the Broncos with 22 assists... The Aggies hold a 30-0 all-time record against SCU.