Teams: No. 18 UC Davis at Long Beach State; No. 13 UC Irvine
Records: Aggies, 14-13 (0-1); 49ers, 7-16 (0-1); Anteaters 9-13 (0-2)
Where: 49er Pool – Long Beach, Calif.; Anteater Swimming Complex – Irvine, Calif.
When: Saturday at noon; Sunday at noon
Who to watch: Sophomore Ariel Feeney did all she could to help the Aggies in their 7-5 loss to Pacific last weekend.
The Davis local scored three straight goals, all in the second quarter, to lead UC Davis. The attacker is sixth on the team with 21 goals on the year.
Did you know? The Aggies have shot only .308 (255-828) on the season, the lowest since shooting .297 (261-897) in 2005.
Preview: Most coaches would say winning is everything.
Not Jamey Wright.
“I feel that learning during the game is more important than winning,” Wright said. “If we’re learning in the pool, the winning will take care of itself.”
Wright says he wants the team to learn from their upcoming Big West Conference games against Long Beach State and UC Irvine. The Aggies played both teams at the UC Irvine Anteater Invitational on Feb. 27 and 28. The Aggies topped the 49ers, 8-7, and fell to the Anteaters, 9-8.
After this weekend, UC Davis will most likely see both Long Beach State and UC Irvine for a third time at the Big West tournament at the end of April. Therefore, it’s important for the Aggies to study the two teams before the conference finals.
“I don’t want to call these games throw-away games because we want to win,” Wright said. “But it’s more important to have learned the other teams’ tendencies and game-play.”
Wright said the key to beating Long Beach State is having a strong transition game.
“They’re a little bigger up front, but we’re a better swimming team,” Wright added. “If we play good defense and have a strong counter attack, we should be good.”
Wright believes UC Irvine will be a different story. The key to victory over the Anteaters will be shutting down their three top scorers, Caitlin Haskell, Courtney Collyer and Jessy Cardey. The three account for 50 percent of all UC Irvine scoring.
“Each one of them is a different player,” Wright said. “We have to be smart and not give them any open looks.”
Despite already seeing both teams earlier in the season, Wright doesn’t believe there is an advantage in playing them again.
“It’s the second time seeing each other for both sides,” he said. “Everybody’s in the same boat when it comes gaining an advantage.”
– Jason Alpert