Event: UCI Invitational
Teams: No. 17 UC Davis vs. No. 3 UCLA; vs. No. 6 Loyola Marymount or No. 12 Long Beach State
Records: Aggies, 3-3; Bruins, 13-1; Lions, 8-2; 49ers, 2-6
Where: Anteater Complex – Irvine, Calif.
When: Saturday at 11:30 a.m., at 4:30 or 5:45 p.m.
Who to watch: The Aggies’ first game against the third-ranked Bruins looks to be one where UC Davis can upset UCLA if its defense holds.
Sophomore goalie Riane Woods looks to be rested, as their last competition came against Indiana on Feb. 4. Against the Hoosiers, Woods played beyond her years, earning nine saves, including two in the final minute of regulation and stuffing a penalty shot attempt by Indiana.
The native of Carlsbad, Calif. only logged 51 minutes in front of the cage and tallied 12 saves in 2010. This season, Woods has already spent 182 minutes in goal with 42 saves, averaging 7.4 saves a game.
Did you know? The recent 22-day break for the Aggies has been the longest official in-season layoff in program history.
Preview: Rusty or rested?
That’s always the biggest question heading into competition after a long break. UC Davis hasn’t seen action since the beginning of February, and the Aggies have seen more competition with fellow students in the classroom than in the pool.
Coach Jamey Wright acknowledges the importance of the break in terms of getting healthy and performing in the classroom, but is still concerned about being rusty.
“Hopefully, we’ve accomplished getting rested and getting caught up with midterms,” Wright said. “But to be honest, I don’t ever want to do this again. It was just too much time [off].”
Against the Hoosiers, it wasn’t so much a lack of offense but rather a lack of stops and defensive intensity. UC Davis’ defense was stifling at times, but the Aggies treated the game as a shootout and came up short in overtime.
“After the Indiana game, people thought we hadn’t had enough of the back-and-forth,” Wright said. “We got a lot of scrimmages in, we got some people rested and we got to work on defense.”
Defense will be a huge part of the Aggies’ strategy. The Bruin offense has scored 144 goals, averaging over 10 goals a game. Their one loss came at the hands of Hawaii, where the Rainbow Warriors held UCLA to only six goals.
The Lions also light up the scoreboard. In its 10 games, Loyola Marymount has scored 115 total goals. As strong as their offense has been, in their two losses, the Lions have been held to a combined 10 goals.
– Matt Wang