The men’s water polo team is at a crucial time in the season.
With less than one month separating the Aggies from the Western Water Polo Association Championships, UC Davis took on four tough opponents in a span of two days.
Saturday – UC Davis 9, Brown 6
The Aggies started the weekend right with a solid victory over the Bears.
Tight defenses from both sides created few scoring opportunities early in this matchup. At halftime, the Aggies only had a one-goal lead.
That would change, however, as UC Davis kept the Bears scoreless in the third quarter and scored four goals en route to a 9-6 win.
Though center junior Aaron Salit scored four goals, reserve swimmers Kevin Meisel, sophomore, and Mattie Stone, senior, also had strong outings in this match.
“I think that Meisel and Stone came in with good intensity,” coach Steve Doten said. “It keeps us from getting stale and stagnant on our offense.”
Saturday – UC Davis 11, Cal Baptist, 9 (2OT)
In this overtime thriller, each team had their opportunities to seal a victory.
Salit led UC Davis with five goals while senior Cory Lyle and junior Walter Eggert each netted two. Despite scoring right from the get go, the Aggies let an early lead slip away.
Down 5-2, the Lancers would eventually tie just before the end of regulation and force UC Davis to earn the victory.
“In our first overtime game [against Pepperdine], I thought the guys were tired and didn’t have the energy,” Doten said. “The guys kind of understood [how to get a win in overtime], and scored the first goal.”
Sunday – UC Davis 9, Air Force 6
The Aggies’ only conference game of the weekend was all about grit and determination.
Early in the game, the Falcons were relentless in their attack. But UC Davis remained poised. At halftime, the score was of 5-3 in favor of the Falcons. But Carlos Martinez and Eggert would score twice after the break. Lyle would add three more goals to get the victory.
With the win, the Aggies remain undefeated in WWPA play and improve to 15-7 overall.
Sunday – Bucknell 7, UC Davis 6
In the last game of the weekend, the Aggies seemed to show some fatigue.
“We missed a lot of easy shots,” Doten said. “We were successful getting around the defense and getting the shot, we just need to get the shot in. The ball went off the crossbar or the post more than it usually does.”
Despite the close misses, the Aggies were paced by Lyle’s four goals and made the game interesting after giving up an early 4-1 lead.
In spite of the loss, Doten seemed very optimistic.
“I thought we spotted every team a couple of goals and we were still able to get wins,” Doten said. “We have to find a way to win.”
UC Davis will take on Loyola Marymount this weekend at home.
MATT WANG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org