Entering the Nor Cal Cup, women’s water polo coach Jamey Wright knew his young team had to step it up against the very competitive field.
“We had our work cut out for us,” Wright said after this weekend’s play. “With the exception of the fourth game against Hawaii, I thought we played pretty well despite the outcomes.”
The Aggies went 1-3 at the Nor Cal Cup to begin the 2010 campaign.
Saturday – No. 14 UC Davis 10, Pacific 9 (OT)
The Aggies opened up the Nor Cal Cup with a thrilling overtime win over Big West Conference rival Pacific.
UC Davis was down 6-4 at halftime but managed to tie it up 8-8 at the end of regulation. The Aggie scored two early goals in the extra session and never looked back.
Senior captain Casey Hines had 13 saves in goal. Freshman Carly Ternasky scored four goals in her collegiate debut to lead the Aggies to victory.
Ternasky’s performance received high praise from Wright.
“You don’t expect a freshman to score four goals in her first game – especially in an OT game,” Wright said. “We needed her to fill in and step up.”
Saturday – No. 4 California 11, UC Davis 5
Tournament host California relied on a big second quarter to pull away from the Aggies in Saturday’s late game.
Ternasky netted two more goals to bring her total on the day to six.
Wright was encouraged by the Aggies’ play against the Golden Bears.
“Cal is a top four team, and we played them very well.” Wright said. “For where we’re at without playing any games, our freshman and sophomores really played well.”
Sunday – No. 8 San Jose St. 6, UC Davis 3
On Sunday, the Aggies looked to rebound from Saturday’s late loss.
The nationally ranked Spartans wouldn’t let that happen.
San Jose State jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, an advantage UC Davis couldn’t overcome. The Aggies managed to outscore San Jose St. by one in the third quarter, but the Spartans were too much to handle.
While the Aggies couldn’t match up with the Spartans, Wright felt good about his team’s effort.
“We didn’t start well against San Jose State,” Wright said. “But we really played well the last three-quarters of the game. I definitely saw some improvement.”
Senior Dana Nelson, freshmen Jessica Dunn and Ternasky each scored one goal. In net, Hines stopped six shots.
Sunday – No. 3 Hawaii 17, UC Davis 4
Fatigue finally caught up with the Aggies in the final game of the weekend.
Coach Wright said he noticed his team played tired and were slow out of the gates, evidenced by UC Davis’ inability to score until late in the third quarter.
Nelson and sophomore Kaylee Miller each scored twice while nine players scored for Hawaii.
“Hawaii is one of the best teams in the nation,” Wright said. “They swim very well and do a good job of getting an edge on the ball.”
Despite the outcomes, Wright sees tournaments like these as learning experiences.
“You have to play the best to get better,” Wright said. “You have to learn from these games and get ready for conference play.”
UC Davis travels down to San Diego to take part in the UC San Diego Triton Invitational next weekend.
JASON ALPERT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.