Teams: No. 13 UC Davis vs. No. 4 Pepperdine; No. 5 California
Records: Aggies, 7-8; Waves, 12-4; Golden Bears, 10-4
When: Friday at 7 pm; Saturday at noon
Where: Schaal Aquatics Center
Who to watch: Coming into this season, head coach Steve Doten had a big void to fill in the cage. He started the year off by splitting time between two goalies, but redshirt freshman Kevin Peat has stepped up big for UC Davis and become the fulltime starter.
The Walnut Creek native helped the Aggies to victory last weekend with eight saves against No. 12 Santa Clara.
Did you know? The last time the Golden Bears and Aggies faced each other in Davis, the game ended in a bench-clearing brawl with five players receiving brutalities. UC Davis senior Paul Wilson and Cal senior Michael Sharf each scored six goals.
This year the game expects to feature the same intensity, but if the two-time national championship defending Golden Bears hope to paw their way to victory, they‘ll have to do so without the All-American Sharf.
Preview: The Aggies will need to use the magic they had last Saturday in what will probably be their most challenging two-game stretch of the year this weekend.
The team looked sharp last weekend in its first big win of the season against Western Water Polo Association rival Santa Clara, 12-7, but faces a major test in Pepperdine and Cal this weekend.
“You get better by playing teams at the level of a Pepperdine or a Cal.“ Doten said. “The focus is to play the way we did against Santa Clara, but against the top four teams in the country.“
The Aggies have had two shots at the Waves this year, losing the first game 13-5. The second time the two teams met, the Aggies played well and were only trailing by two goals at half but ultimately fell 15-7.
Although Pepperdine is an accomplished squad, the Aggies have not lost a night game at home in three years. UC Davis looks to keep that streak alive and then put up another good fight with the defending national champions.