Event:Western Water Polo Association Championships
Teams:No.10UC Davis vs.TBA; TBA; TBA
Where:BurnsCenter– Los Angeles
Who to watch:Only twocurrentAggies have received All-WWPA team recognitions three years in a row.This year,for the first time in both their careers,seniors Jessica Soza and Christi Raycraftwere selected to the All-WWPA first team.
The awardsare much-deserved with both players leading the team on each end of the pool.Raycraft leads the squad with46goals while drawing a school-record71exclusions.Soza ranks among the team leaders with36steals and16field blocks and will become the only player in Aggie history to average over twenty minutes per game in a career.
Did you know?The Aggies head down toLos Angeles this weekendon one of the hottest streaks the program has ever seen.The team has won10-straight games,the second-longest winning streak in UC Davis women‘s water polo history.As of the beginning of March,the Aggies have won14of16,with their only two lossescoming in overtime to ranked opponents.
Preview:For the20players andthree coaches that were present last year,it‘s been363days of waiting for this specific weekend,and waiting specifically for revenge.
Almost one year ago,the Aggies tragically fell one goal short of a WWPA championshipin an overtime loss to Loyola Marymount.The Aggiesare hoping to not feed the Lions this time and regain their2005title as conference champions.
Based on recent performance,UC Davis likes its chances.
“We‘ve won10-straight,which is good,but I like the way we have done it,“ saidhead coachJamey Wright,the WWPA Coach of the Year.“We showed some resolve in the fourth quarter against LMU,we had a dominant game againstSanta Clara and a second half againstBakersfield.Those things give us confidence and I think we‘re in a good place physically and mentally.“
The team‘s first test comes on Friday against the winner of the Colorado State-Cal State Monterey Bay game.The Aggies have found success against both teams,beating them both with ease at least once this season.
The potentialmatch-up in Saturday‘s semifinalwill be against eitherfourth-seeded Cal State Bakersfieldor fifth-seededSanta Clara.The two-seed and host LMU will most likely match up with third-seed UC San Diego in a semifinal battle where the Tritons have the upper hand,winning the last meeting between the two only12days ago.With LMU winning14of their last16,it‘s quite possible the Aggies willhave their thirst for revenge quenched in a championshipmatch-up with theLions.
This is the last year the Aggieswill have a chance to win a WWPA title,as theBig WestConferencewill begin hosting women‘s water polo in2009.
For the eight seniors who have been around to see three WWPA championship games,they know what‘s coming and have never been more ready.
“I think the seniors are very focused on doing well.They know this is it for them,“ Wrightsaid. “As a coach,I don‘t need to say it and I don‘t like to dwell on it because I don‘t want it to become too huge a thing.Instead,I turn it into a positive:we have as much experienceas anybody in this conference.Some teams are fast,some teams are big.We have experience.Let‘s use it to our advantage.