Teams: No. 16 UC Davis vs. No. 15 Indiana
Records: Aggies 3-2, Hoosiers 1-3
Where: Schaal Aquatic Center
When: Friday at 4 p.m.
Who to watch: Though UC Davis’ offense is prolific – 60 goals in 5 games – coach Jamey Wright still calls out a huge weakness.
“We played good frontcourt offense [last weekend],” Wright said, “with the glaring exception of 6-on-5.”
Jessica Dunn, who scored 44 goals and racked up 30 assists in 2010, is a focal part of the 6-on-5 offense.
Wright relies on the sophomore from Los Alamitos, Calif. to create opportunities for her and her team during power plays.
Did you know? If you thought the Aggies had to wait a while before playing a home game, then you should pay attention to the Hoosiers.
Indiana will play 22 road games before their first home game against Michigan on March 26.
Preview: This weekend, the Aggies hope to not show Indiana any of the famous West Coast hospitality.
Instead, UC Davis will try to make California a miserable destination for the Hoosiers, who play eight consecutive and 15 of their next 18 games in the Golden State.
The Aggies are currently enjoying the benefits of having a balanced and potent offense. They will look to get physical against Indiana, a team they haven’t seen since 2007.
“We want to make a dedicated effort to play good, fundamental defense against Indiana,” Wright said. “The biggest thing I’m looking to accomplish is to shore up our defensive principles and concepts.”
This should be a tough task, especially because the Aggies just haven’t seen a lot of Indiana water polo to focus on specific defensive strategies.
“We’re coming in blind to face an opponent,” Wright said. “We are forced to look at stat sheets.”
The only active players to have played against Indiana are seniors Heidi Kucera and Ashley Chandler, who were then true freshmen at the time. Dana Nelsen, the only other true freshman from 2007, is not on the roster as a player, but as an assistant coach.
Though the Aggies don’t have much experience against the Hoosiers, they do have some insider information.
Assistant coach Kandace Waldthaler, recently nominated to the Sierra College Hall of Fame, was an All-American standout for the Hoosiers in 2005.
“We have a little advantage because our assistant coach was part of their program,” Wright said. “There are a lot of question marks, and it is still somewhat difficult. But they’re our main focus this weekend. Everybody’s going to be jazzed and ready.”
– Matt Wang