Teams: Canadian Sr. National Team, Cal State Bakersfield
Where: Spieker Aquatics Complex – Berkeley, Calif.
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.; 4:45 p.m.
Who to watch: Goalkeepers Riane Woods and Rachel Tatusko have big shoes to fill after the departure of three-year starter Casey Hines.
The goalie situation was a large concern for women’s water polo coach Jamey Wright, but has been resolved over the past few months.
“It was a big question mark this year,” Wright said. “But I have to say that I’m really happy where we’re at. They played very well in a scrimmage in November.”
Aggie fans can expect both Woods and Tatusko to make an impact this season as they split playing time.
Did you know? Assistant coach Kandace Waldthaler will be inducted to the Sierra College Hall of Fame.
Waldthaler was a standout in her time at Sierra College, earning JC-All American and MVP honors before transferring to Indiana. Drawing 55 exclusions and scoring 55 goals, she was named a third-team All-American for Indiana in 2005.
“She comes on with different ideas and perspective [of a competitive water polo program],” Wright said. “She’s been really awesome and her getting inducted is fabulous.”
Preview: The old saying goes that age and experience will trump over youth and enthusiasm every day.
The women’s water polo team is out to prove just what happens when youth and experience are combined.
“We have a very deep and balanced team,” Wright said. “We have a young nucleus and a lot of scoring coming back.”
The Aggies return leading scorers Jessica Dunn, Carey Faber and Kaylee Miller.
Furthermore, UC Davis is strengthened by the returns of redshirt seniors Ashley Chandler and Dakotah Mohr.
“Mohr is a scorer but even more effective at getting us 6-on-5s,” Wright said. “She helps us when she puts the other team on the defensive.
“Chandler has tremendous acceleration and is a really fast swimmer. She helps us on the defensive end.”
The Aggies have a tough start, taking on the Canadian Senior National Team on Saturday, quickly followed by Cal State Bakersfield the same afternoon.
Though the Canadian National Team is formidable, Wright is eager for the challenge.
“The Canadian National Team is ranked second in the world,” Wright said. “Basically, we’re going to be playing their Olympic team. It’s going to be an interesting experience.”
– Matt Wang