Maybe it was senior Laura Uribe’s halfcourt heaves that somehow kept finding the back of the net. Maybe it was the standing room only crowds at the Schaal Aquatics Center. Maybe it was head coach Jamey Wright’s clap-spin move with a big smile seconds after even a bigger win.
Whatever it was, the No. 10 UC Davis women’s water polo team has figured out how to win consistently.
After defeating all five of their opponents this weekend, including a monstrous victory over rival Loyola Marymount, UC Davis (21-8, 11-1) has won eight in a row and is peaking at the right time.
Friday – UC Davis 14, Colorado State 3
The Aggies started off the weekend in dominating fashion, romping in their game against the Rams from the opening sprint.
Senior attacker Christi Raycraft led the Aggies to the 14-3 victory with an astonishing six goals. Any time Raycraft wasn’t finding the back of the cage, Uribe was. She had an impressive four-goal first game.
The two senior standouts’ dominating play foreshadowed what would come for the rest of the weekend.
Saturday – UC Davis 14, Cal State East Bay 4
The Aggies came out to prove their strength at home in the first game of the 28th Annual Aggie Shootout.
They didn’t waste any time, igniting a 7-0 first quarter run that would eventually lead to a 14-4 victory.
Raycraft led the squad again with a first quarter hat trick and got help from redshirt freshman center Lauren Seidemann, who netted a natural hat trick in the third quarter alone.
“We really got into a good offensive rhythm from the beginning,” Wright said. “People were contributing from everywhere.”
Saturday – UC Davis 9, LMU 7
If you ever wonder what revenge tastes like, just ask the UC Davis women’s water polo team.
After losing two straight overtime games to LMU, including the conference final last year, the Aggies snapped a 10-game LMU winning streak to tame the Lions, 9-7, in front of a packed Schaal Aquatics Center crowd.
“I like to downplay the importance of this game to the girls, but it just feels so good to beat them,” Wright said.
Uribe had two early goals to spark a hot UC Davis start and a 3-0 opening lead.
But the deficit disappeared much faster than desired with former Aggie Crisara Abrams scoring two goals, tying it up 3-3 midway through the second period.
Abrams hit another goal following a Raycraft strike, and it looked like the teams would end the half with a 4-4 tie.
But LMU must have not scouted Uribe’s arm because with just one tick left before the halftime buzzer rang, she heaved a shot far behind half tank, which found the back of the net cleanly and put a nice cherry on top for her first-half hat trick.
The Lions briefly inched in front during the third period, but their lead was soon erased and was not seen for the rest of contest.
Senior Mary Lowe sealed the deal with her second goal of the game for the only strike in the fourth for either team.
The Aggies’ silenced three fourth quarter LMU 6-on-5 attempts to hold off the attacking Lions’ comeback efforts in the game of the weekend.
“We drew some early ejections on some of their key players that really helped us,” Wright said. “But our defense was solid, and we capitalized on our exclusion opportunities and stopped them on theirs. That is what wins games.”
Sunday – UC Davis 12, Cal State San Bernardino 6
Junior sprinter Lindsay Kiyama not only won every sprint this weekend, she also had a hat trick in Sunday’s opener to lead Aggies past San Bernardino, 12-6.
“So many different people are contributing for us this weekend,” Wright said, “Today Ki stepped up and played great for us.”
Seniors Ashley Greenwood, Casie Mota and Uribe each added two goals in the victory.
Sunday – UC Davis 12, Cal State Bakersfield 6
The Aggies came out a little flat in the last game of the Aggie Shootout, falling behind 4-3 in the first quarter.
From that point on, it was all UC Davis.
The home team dominated the second quarter, 5-1, and protected its lead to a 12-6 victory.
A key moment came when Amanda Ortiz, the nation’s leading scorer, fouled out in the second period for the Roadrunners. Ortiz already had three goals in her 15 minutes of play.
Freshman center Dakotah Mohr struck twice for UC Davis in the second half to help preserve the weekend sweep.
This weekend marks the 10th straight season Jamey Wright’s squad has gotten 20 wins in a season.
UC Davis returns to action Saturday with a home game against Santa Clara at noon.
SAMMY BRASCH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.