After upsetting Big Conference rival Santa Clara and improving to 12 on the national poll, the Aggies had big hopes against two tough conference opponents last weekend.
Sadly none of these wishes turned into wins.
UC Davis traveled to La Jolla for a match-up against No.13 UC San Diego only to get ousted by excellent Triton play in the fourth quarter, falling 9-7 for the second time in three weeks.
The Aggies then headed to Los Angeles to meet up with Western Water Polo Association rivals No. 5 Loyola Marymount.
A fast start was enough for the Lions to defeat the Aggies en route to their 23rd straight WWPA win.
Friday – No. 13 San Diego 9, No. 12 UC Davis 7
Freshman center Jared Clapham came out as hot as his fiery red hair with two quick goals that helped give the Aggies an early 3-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last for long as the Tritons capped an unanswered streak of four goals with a 6-on-5 strike with just five seconds remaining in the half.
Junior Cory Lyle punched in a man-up goal to get the game back to even in the fourth, but the UCSD attack proved too potent as they scored two goals down the stretch to close out the Aggies.
“We played well for a big part of this game,” Lyle said. “Although we lost, we know we can beat them in conference now and that’s when it really matters.”
Freshman Clapham’s two goals led UC Davis as four Aggies each found the back of the net one time a piece.
Saturday – No. 5 LMU 8, No. 12 UC Davis 4
The Aggies fell behind early against a very talented international Loyola Marymount University squad, going up 2-0 after the first and 4-0 at half.
The Lions stifling defense, along with efficient offense was too much for the inexperienced Aggies to handle as they dropped their second game of the weekend. The Aggies had trouble scoring – they only beat the Lion keeper for four goals in the 8-4 loss.
The team’s newfound workhorse, Junior Carlos Martinez, led the Aggies with two goals while playing 26 of 32 minutes in the contest.
“We played them even in the second half,” Martinez said, “and that’s what you take away from losses is little victories.
“Now we know them better for when the conference tournament comes around.”
The Aggies return to action Oct. 10 at the UC Irvine Invitational. UC Davis returns home for the Alumni game Oct. 17.
SAMMY BRASCH can be reached at email@example.com.