Teams: No. 15 UC Davis at Santa Clara
Records: Aggies, 17-11; Broncos 13-17
Where: Sullivan Aquatic Center – Santa Clara, Calif.
When: Saturday at noon
Who to watch: As the Aggies near the end of another season, senior Ashley Chandler approaches the inevitable end to her UC Davis career.
Despite appearing in just 12 of 28 games this season, the Newport Beach, Calif. native is sixth on the team in assists, three of which came against the Broncos in March.
Did you know? UC Davis’ 1-4 league record is misleading as the team leads the Big West Conference in goals per game. It averages 11.04 scores per game, shooting a respectable 36.2 percent coming into Saturday’s matchup against the Broncos.
Preview: Coach Jamey Wright is extracting the positives from UC Davis’ difficult loss to Pacific last Saturday and hopes to apply them this weekend against Santa Clara.
“Last game, the energy was good, we countered well and wore [the Tigers] out,” Wright said. “We created a lot of scoring opportunities that were makeable shots. We just have to execute.”
Wright said the Aggies will need to show up in top form if they want to best the Broncos.
“We have to play a good, solid, fundamental game,” he said.
Working in the Aggies’ advantage is their history with the Broncos.
UC Davis held Santa Clara at bay earlier this season, topping the Broncos 10-3. Going back further, the two sides were both part of the Western Water Polo Association until UC Davis moved to the Big West in 2009.
This is UC Davis’s final regular season contest before moving on to the Big West Tournament next weekend. Yet this non-conference game is more than just a tune-up for the Aggies.
“We need to treat [the game against the Broncos] like it’s the first round game of our conference championships,” Wright said. “We want to play well and enter the tournament feeling good about our play.”
Along with being an important non-conference match-up, Saturday’s game will be the final regular season event for five UC Davis seniors. Chandler, Michelle Hook, Heidi Kucera, Lauren Seidemann and Rachelle Smith will dive into the pool for the final time in a UC Davis swim cap in a regular season game.
– Matthew Yuen