If the best medicine for a struggling team is the sweet taste of victory, then the Aggies should be feeling much better.
After dropping seven of their first 10 and four of their last five, No. 15 UC Davis turned it around this weekend, winning three of four – all against Western Water Polo Association teams.
The problem in the past for the Aggies was their inability to find the back of the cage.
This weekend was a different story.
The team stepped up and scored when it mattered. Led by senior Adam Bennett‘s 11-goal performance, the Aggies scored a total of 35 goals in their first 3 games. Bennett was one goal short of having his sixth consecutive hat trick and scored 23 goals in the past eight games.
“It was really nice to get some wins in,“ Bennett said. “I feel like our team really needed a lift, and we got it this weekend.“
Saturday – UC Davis 12, Redlands 7
The Aggies started off the weekend on the right foot, bursting out to an early 6-2 lead in the beginning of the second quarter. Normally only mentioned when talking about the defensive side of the pool, senior Danny Driscoll took the game into his own hands, scoring a hat trick in the first half alone.
Driscoll‘s hat trick, along with two other three-goal performances – courtesy of Bennett and senior Paul Wilson – helped lead UC Davis to a 12-7 victory against No. 16 Redlands, who went on to beat No. 13 Santa Clara later that day.
“This was a solid win for us,“ Wilson said, who totaled nine goals this weekend. “They are a better team than we thought they were. So it was really good to get that first win of the weekend under our belt.“
Saturday – UC Davis 19, Cal Lutheran 7
If there was still any question that the Aggies were having a tough time scoring, they put that doubt to rest.
It truly was raining goals as 14 different Aggies scored in the crucifying of Cal Lutheran.
Bennett raked in another hat trick, but the surprising attacks came from a couple of two-goal performances.
A little Marin magic helped goalie Eric Quinn score two full-tank heaves in the first half, while fellow Marin native junior Mattie Stone found the back of the cage twice, although he had yet to attempt a shot prior to Saturday‘s nightcap.
Sunday – UC Davis 14, Occidental 4
The spread out scoring continued Sunday when 11 different Aggies ousted Occidental‘s optimistic hopes of a win.
Wilson led the squad with a hat-trick performance, and Bennett followed with a two-goal game.
Sunday – No. 13 Santa Clara 10, UC Davis 8
After three solid wins, UC Davis was looking to take out the broom for the weekend sweep, but Santa Clara‘s Jack Wall was the one doing the cleaning up.
The Bronco junior swept the pool with a six-goal performance, crushing the Aggies‘ hope of getting their record back to .500 and a Slugfest sweep.
UC Davis led on numerous occasions, including most of the first half, but could not hold off the Bronco charge.
Wilson tied the game at 6-6 midway through the third period, but Wall struck again to give Santa Clara the lead that they never gave up.
“It was really nice to get three wins this weekend, but we really wanted this one.“ Wilson said.
The Aggies move to 6-8 and 4-2 in conference play. The team takes a week off, and then returns on Oct. 11 for an 11-game homestand.
SAMMY BRASCH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.