Event: NCAA Women‘s Water Polo Championships
Teams: No. 8 UC Davis vs. No. 5 San Diego State; TBD; TBD
Records: Aggies, 26-8; Aztecs, 29-6
When: Today at 6:45 p.m.; Saturday at TBD; Sunday at TBD
Where: Avery Aquatic Center – Stanford, Calif.
Who to watch: Only two Aggies scored in every game of the Western Water Polo Association tournament, and neither of them were tournament MVP Jessica Soza or the team-leader in goals, Christi Raycraft.
Instead, Laura Uribe and Lindsay Kiyama rose to the occasion, scoring a combined 12 goals in three games.
Did you know: The NCAA first round woods have never looked greener.
The Greenwood family will be well-represented in the pool today as UC Davis senior Ashley Greenwood faces younger sister Erinn Greenwood of San Diego State this evening.
Ashley‘s sister, a junior center, has drawn a team-best 112 ejections this season with 42 goals and 36 assists.
Preview: Men‘s basketball March Madness is considered one of the most exciting times in the year of sports; now imagine those 17 days of excitement packed into one weekend with a champion crowned on Sunday. This is women‘s water polo May Madness, and fifth-seeded UC Davis is hoping for Upset City on its quest for a national title.
The Aggies have had the best season in program history and are looking to build on their accomplishments this weekend as they head to the Avery Aquatic center for the program‘s second NCAA appearance in its last three years.
The team has already matched its season record for wins with 26, defeated its conference foe in Loyola Marymount, and has met its preseason goal of playing into May.
UC Davis will matchup with the fourth-seeded Aztecs. The two teams met earlier this season in Irvine with the Aggies prevailing 8-7 on late-game heroics by senior standout Raycraft.
“Who we play does not change my level of excitement,“ head coach Jamey Wright said. “I‘m just thrilled to represent the WWPA in this tournament. I thought our conference was strong this year. We had five schools in the top 20 throughout the season, and the two semifinals, the third-place game and first-place game were all one-goal games. So I think it‘s an honor to be in this position.“
The Aggies will face either the winner or the loser of the top-seeded UCLA and eighth-seeded Pomona-Pitzer. The Bruins have won the last three NCAA championships.
Two years ago, UC Davis made its first NCAA tournament appearance, and the team received the same five-seed and faced a team they had already defeated in the season.
The team now will rely on its experience, something that the 2006 squad lacked. The Aggies are not only led by their tight-knit skilled senior group, but six of those eight seniors were present in 2006 to experience the NCAA playoff atmosphere.
This will be the grand finale for the inspired class, which accounted for 21 of the team‘s 27 goals at the WWPA tournament and has led the team all year in and out of the pool.
“It‘s phenomenally meaningful to be in the NCAA tournament with this group of seniors,“ Wright said. “There are players who have been here for four or even five years. But even the two junior college transfers are intertwined with the fabric of this team so well that they might as well have been here for four years.