Everyone knew it was going to be a tough weekend, but not this tough.
Head coach Steve Doten tested his players this weekend by scheduling games with two of the nation’s best in No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 3 California.
The Aggies dropped their first contest by a score of 14-9 on Friday, and then fell 11-2 on Saturday.
Friday – No. 5 Pepperdine 14, No. 11 UC Davis 9
Coming off an impressive win over No. 12 Santa Clara a week ago, No. 11 UC Davis broke stride on Friday night. Pepperdine came out making waves at Schaal Aquatics Center, scoring three unanswered goals in the first three minutes of play en route to a 14-9 win over the Aggies.
Senior attacker Adam Hewko was too much for UC Davis to handle throughout the game. The former U.S. National Team player scored a total of five goals on the day – including a hat trick in the first quarter alone.
Senior Adam Bennett kept the Aggies alive with another stellar performance, scoring five goals of his own to bring his season total up to 43.
“They came out with too much fire power for us to handle,” Bennett said.
Sophomore hole set Aaron Salit added two more goals for the second game in a row, but the Waves could not be contained, tripling the Aggies score by half.
The team’s biggest ally on Friday night was the huge crowd that showed up for the first night game of the year. The student section was so loud during halftime that Pepperdine had to have its team meeting off the pool deck.
But the crowd’s spirit was not enough.
The Aggies outplayed the Waves in the second half, but the 9-3 halftime deficit was too much to come back from and ended falling short 14-9.
“It would have been really easy to roll over at halftime,” Bennett said, “but I am really proud of how we played in the second half.“
Saturday – No. 3 Cal 11, No. 11 UC Davis 2
The midday game on Saturday marked the first time Cal and UC Davis have met since last October’s bench-clearing brawl between the two sister schools.
This game was not quite as exciting as that one.
The Golden Bears defense dominated the entire game, shutting out the Aggies for the first 19 minutes of the game.
Senior Philippe Chordas broke the silence for UC Davis with a man-up goal early in the third period.
The only other Aggie goal was a buzzer beater scored by freshman Luke Collins at the end of the fourth.
The UC Davis defense played solid, holding the two-time defending national champs to only 12 goals.
The Aggies drop to 7-10 for the year. The team will return to action with another Friday night home game against Pacific.
SAMMY BRASCH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.