Early in the season, men’s water polo head coach Steve Doten was quick to express where his team’s strengths would lie in 2007.
“We depend on a lot of older guys in our program,” head coach Steve Doten said. “We have a lot of experience this year, and I think that’s showing in these conference games.”
That experience shined brightest between the pipes.
Senior goalkeeper Mike McGee’s efforts were at the core of UC Davis men’s water polo’s greatest season in history – a season in which the Aggies tabbed a school-record 22 victories, going 14-0 in Western Water Polo Association regular season play.
The Aggies reached the WWPA Championship game for the first time this season, thanks greatly to McGee. The keeper had 11 saves en route to a 13-6 win over Air Force. UC Davis then fell to Loyola Marymount in the final, 7-6.
“Mike’s the star,” Doten said. “He leads the whole defensive effort. When Mike McGee looks good, it makes us look good.”
If the team looked good, then McGee looked great.
A product of Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, Calif., McGee totaled 282 saves this season, putting his career saves total over 1,000 – just the second Aggie to reach the plateau.
For his efforts, McGee was named first-team All-WWPA and the conference’s player of the year. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder was also named co-recipient of the Colby E. “Babe” Slater Award, given to UC Davis’ top male athlete of the year.
McGee excelled in the classroom, as well. He received an “outstanding” all-academic award from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches, meaning the organizational studies major’s GPA was above 3.71.
“To be going out with a team like this in a situation like this is great,” McGee said. “Being undefeated in the conference, breaking the record for wins in a season – it’s just so many things accumulating to an incredible senior year.”