They were the two biggest games of the year and possibly in program history.
The conference title was four quarters away, and the Aggies leading scorer and star player had only been heard from once all tournament.
But the silence was broken with thunder.
Senior Christi Raycraft was not going to be denied another Western Water Polo Association title. She scored three times in what was their biggest game of the year up to that point.
Two weeks later in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Davis native rose again on the biggest stage in all of college sports. The senior netted another hat trick and boosted the Aggies over San Diego State and into the national final four for the first time in program history.
“I can’t think of a single athlete that has more guts and determination than Christi,” said teammate and co-captain Jessica Soza. “You always know she is going to make it happen, and let’s just say I am glad she was on my side.”
The captain made it happen on offense all season long. Playing as both an attacker and a center, she led the Aggies with 53 goals and a school-record 86 ejections drawn. She also made contributions on the defense end, leading the team with 22 field blocks.
Raycraft led the squad to the most successful season in Aggie history, getting 27 wins while placing fourth in the nation.
“She is a leader both in and out of the pool,” said senior teammate Laura Uribe. “She might not be the biggest or strongest outside of the water, but if you have seen her play, you will know that her heart is bigger than anyone’s.”
In the 17 games that UC Davis played against ranked opponents this season, Raycraft scored 30 times, including two-game winners.
The super senior was the first Aggie ever to be named to the all-NCAA Tournament first team. She also rounded up WWPA first-team honors for her play throughout the year.