There are some things you never forget.
The Aggies will always remember their perfect regular season in 2007 that ended with a loss to Loyola Marymount in the Western Water Polo Association championship game.
UC Davis was looking to avenge that loss this year, but came one goal short of getting there.
Despite a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to UC San Diego, the team played well enough to way away from the tournament in third place. The Aggies beat a tough Air Force team and a Santa Clara squad that only lost to top-seeded LMU by one goal a day earlier.
Although the taste of redemption was not in their mouth, they did do something they did not do last year: end the season with a victory.
Friday – No. 11 UC Davis 6, No. 20 Air Force 4
Sophomore hole set Aaron Salit came to play this weekend, and he showed it from the very start in the tournament opener against the Falcons.
Salit’s first hat trick performance of the season could not have come at a better time.
Like in every contest this weekend, the Aggies were trailing at half. But UC Davis brought the heat in the third quarter, outscoring Air Force 3-0 en route to a 6-4 victory.
First team All-WWPA honoree Grant Muenter chipped in with two scores for the Aggies, while sophomore Walter Eggert added one of his own.
Saturday – No. 9 UCSD 10, UC Davis 9
There was only one game in between the Aggies and a chance at redemption in the WWPA championship game against rival LMU.
The problem was the team standing in the way: a UCSD team loaded with talent that had already beaten UC Davis twice this season.
The Aggies came out to a promising 3-1 start in the first quarter, but the Tritons came back to lead at halftime 6-5.
UC Davis trailed 9-8 until they hit a 6-on-5 opportunity in the fourth to tie things up. A minute later, UCSD scored on a man-up opportunity of its own.
The Tritons then scored a goal which deflected off the hands of two Aggies before the ball jumped its way into the cage, giving UCSD the lead for good.
Senior Adam Bennett led the Aggies with two goals on the game.
“This one really hurt,” Bennett said. “We were so close, and to lose by one is really tough.“
Sunday – UC Davis 8, Santa Clara 6
The Aggies and Broncos met for the second time in as many weeks on Sunday.
Unlike the previous matchups, third place in the conference was on the line this time.
The Aggies trailed 4-2 early, but Bennett scored one of his three goals seconds before the halftime buzzer rang to cut the lead to one.
The third quarter was a friend to the Aggies once again, as the team scored three goals in the period to go up by a two.
Senior Adam Lindsay had two goals, while Salit, Cory Lyle and Matt Richardson all had one.
Salit grabbed first-team all-tournament honors, while Muenter was named to the second team.
The contest marked the final game in the UC Davis careers of seven seniors: Bennett, Muenter, Lindsay, Danny Driscoll, Alex Dewar, Philippe Chordas and Paul Wilson.
“It’s really weird having it all be over,” Muenter said. “I mean, it was such a huge part of all our lives. I think we had a good season. I don’t know if anyone expected us to have the run that we did, and our team was good enough to have won this tournament.“
SAMMY BRASCH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.