66.7 F

Davis, California

Friday, April 12, 2024

Women’s Water Polo Preview

Teams: No. 15 UC Davis vs. No. 10 Cal State Northridge; vs. No. 12 UC Santa Barbara

Records: Aggies, 15-14 (1-2); Matadors, 25-6 (3-0); Gauchos, 16-9 (2-1)

Where: Schaal Aquatic Center

When: Friday at 6 p.m.; Saturday at noon

Who to watch: Freshman Jessica Dunn is quietly having a stellar season.

The Los Alamitos, Calif. native scored four goals in UC Davis’ two games last weekend, including the game-winning goal over Long Beach State.

The attacker is second on the team with 32 goals on the season.

Did you know? Former Aggie Tiffany Hodgens, now Tiffany Johnson was selected to the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of fame last week.

Hodgens played for UC Davis from 2000-2004 and earned All-American honors all four of those years. She scored 355 goals during her tenure, including a record 112 as a junior.

Preview: UC Davis is in store for another difficult set of games.

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Aggies will match up against the top two teams in the Big West Conference. The fifth-place Aggies will play first-place Cal State Northridge Friday night and second-place UCSB Saturday afternoon.

“Both games are going to be very tough and really close,” said coach Jamey Wright. “We can win both or lose both, that’s how similar the teams are.”

The Matadors recorded their 25th win last weekend, a team record. Goalie Jillian Stapf has been an intimidating presence in net, leading the Big West with 218 saves on the season.

“Northridge is one of the only teams in conference with a strong upperclassmen presence,” Wright said. “They’ve got a lot more experience than a younger team like us.”

However, if there’s one team that’s had their number, it’s been the Aggies. UC Davis has beaten Cal State Northridge the last eight times they’ve met, dating back to 2003.

UC Santa Barbara experienced its first Big West blemish last Saturday – a 7-6 loss to Cal State Northridge. The Aggies and Gauchos have had a tightly contested history as 16 matches have been decided by two goals or less. UC Davis lost to UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 7, 7-4.

“This is going to be a very interesting game,” Wright said. “I think they have the most offensive upside of any team in conference. They’re dangerous yet beatable.”

These two games will be the Aggies’ first home games in over a month. Wright said he was excited to be back at Schaal Aquatic Center.

“It’s always more fun to play at home,” he said. “It seems like forever since we played at home. With it being Picnic Day and Senior Day, it should be a great weekend of water polo.”

Seniors Dana Nelson and Casey Hines will be honored before Saturday’s match as part of Senior Day activities.

– Jason Alpert


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