Event: Roadrunner Invitational
Teams: No. 9 UC Davis vs. Concordia; Colorado State; No. 15 Cal State Bakersfield; Cal State East Bay
Records: Aggies, 5-3; Eagles, 1-2; Rams, 3-6; Roadrunners, 6-3; Pioneers, 1-2
Where: Hillman Aquatics Center – Bakersfield, Calif.
When: Saturday at 11 a.m., 3:40 p.m.; Sunday at 9:15 a.m., 2 p.m.
Who to watch: After missing the first two games with a broken nose, junior Ashley Chandler has been consistently producing on both ends of the pool.
The Newport Beach, Calif. native led the team with six goals on offense and eight steals on defense in last weekend‘s second-place finish at the Triton Invitational. She also had three field blocks on the weekend, including one that forced overtime in the UC San Diego victory.
“That block underscores how a game can be changed by one play,“ coach Jamey Wright said. “It was as important as any made goal.“
Did you know? Despite having scored 81 goals in eight games this season, the Aggies have yet to have any player score a total of 10 goals or have any player perform a hat-trick in a single game.
All 15 players who traveled last weekend to San Diego netted at least one goal, and 10 had three or more goals.
Preview: The young UC Davis team is coming off its best finish ever at the Triton Invitational, defeating three former Western Water Polo Association foes while playing a montage of players.
This weekend, the Aggies are looking to more of the same, matching up against three WWPA teams in Bakersfield.
“We had 15 players suited up for the games (last weekend), and all 15 played important minutes,“ Wright said. “They all made key contributions.“
Unlike last weekend, UC Davis only faces one ranked opponent in No. 15 Bakersfield. The Roadrunners, coming off a 10th-place finish at the Triton Invitational, are led by defending WWPA Player of the Year Amanda Ortiz.
The Aggies stand a good chance of winning if they can find a way to stop the Puerto Rican national team player who just scored her 300th career goal on Saturday.
UC Davis looks to build on its expansive lineups in their three other games against unranked opponents with losing records.
“This group is like a Rubik’s Cube – you turn this and it opens up that,“ Wright said. “I can put five different weapons out there.“
Hopefully UC Davis‘ weapons will give their opponents as much trouble as a Rubik‘s cube give most of us this weekend in Bakersfield.
– Sammy Brasch