Last week, water polo coach Steve Doten complimented the strength and quickness of Loyola Marymount.
“Every good water polo team has a good counter attack,” Doten said. “I expect them to try and rush us.”
Rushing is exactly what the Lions did.
The Lions played with urgency to start the first quarter, scoring three quick goals on defensive breakdowns and 6-on-5 power plays. Though Loyola Marymount driver Tibor Forai was effectively contained for the duration of the game, UC Davis didn’t have an answer for his teammate, Edgaras Asajavicius.
Asajavicius would score twice in the first frame and Robert Pusic would score once more to give the Lions a quick 3-0 lead they would never relinquish.
Despite Doten calling a timeout to regroup early in the first quarter, the Aggie offense still couldn’t find the back of the net.
LMU would score four unanswered goals before freshman Stuart Dooley finally got UC Davis on the scoreboard with his goal in the second period.
Other than Dooley’s score, the Aggies were unable to set up their offense due to poor passing and a stifling Lion defense.
UC Davis shot only 1-18 over the course of the entire game. Sophomore Walter Eggert took five of the 18 shots to lead the team.
Though the Aggies outshot the Lions over the course of the game, many of these shots were later in the game and came out of desperation due to the large deficit.
The Aggie defense kept the game close in the third and fourth quarters, allowing only one goal in each frame. UC Davis settled down, but the Lion defense refused to yield any more goals.
With the loss, the Aggies are now 15-8 overall and 12-1 against opponents in the Western Water Polo Association. Though they fail to clinch the top spot, they are second in the WWPA and are almost guaranteed the second seed in the WWPA Championship, something that Doten doesn’t see as a disappointment.
“If we lose against Loyola Marymount, it’s not too bad,” Doten said. “We know that we can beat a team like Loyola Marymount [in championships].”
The Aggies have a chance to avenge the loss as they host Stanford on Friday at 6 p.m.
MATT WANG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.