The Schaal Aquatics Center was packed at 4 p.m. when eight Aggies were scheduled to play the final home women’s water polo game of their collegiate careers.
An hour-and-a-half later, the game finally began and not a single person had left their seat. The delay, due to the absence of referees, did not deter anyone from honoring the eight seniors in their final farewell at Schaal.
UC Davis came out like they had been waiting for this game much longer than an hour-and-a-half, letting itspresence be known by tyrannizing the Tigers, 14-5, for the team’s 10th straight victory.
The first quarter was dominated by the seniors with four different players scoring to lead the team to a 5-2 advantage.
Leading the team defensively all year, Jessica Soza decided that in her last game at home she would score a little bit too, scoring twice on two first-quarter attempts.
As a leader in and out of the pool, the team captain is the all-time leader in minutes played with 2,770 minutes logged and understands what it takes to make a team work.
“Our seniors really brought unity to this team,” Soza said. “We all just got along so well, and the rest of the team just followed our actions.”
Six different Aggies contributed two goals each, but the encompassing theme was the appreciation of the seniors: Soza, Jaclyn Loberg, Christi Raycraft, Casie Mota, Laura Uribe, Ashley Greenwood, Mary Lowe and Madeline Stephenson.
The four years when most of the eight seniors attended UC Davis is the winningest four-year stretch in program history with 90 wins and counting.
“When these girls came here, I did not realize really how good they were,” said head coach Jamey Wright. “You know, you recruit players really hard and they go somewhere else, but looking back I would not trade this group for anybody. They’re a group that is really together in all ways and it’s just really something special.”
UC Davis now turns its focus to this weekend when it travels to Loyola Marymount as the first seedfor Western Water Polo Association Championships.
“We are going to work on 6-on-5s,” Wright said, “focus on the opponents, watch tape on every team and really if we play our game we have as good a chance as anyone to win this thing.”
SAMMY BRASCH can be reached at email@example.com.