Event: Big West Conference Championships
Where: UC Santa Barbara Campus Pool – Santa Barbara, Calif.
When: Friday 3:30pm
Who to watch: The Aggies have players throughout their entire roster that threaten to score whenever they are in the pool.
Sophomore Jessica Dunn is one of those players.
She leads the pack with 46 goals to her name this year. She haunted opposing goalies last year at the Big West Conference Tournament as well.
Despite a fifth place finish at the tourney for UC Davis last year, Dunn tallied six goals, including five in the game against Long Beach State.
A repeat of last year’s solid performance by Dunn should spearhead the Aggies’ drive to the national championship tournament.
Did you know? Much unlike the March Madness basketball tournament, the women’s water polo NCAA championship tournament holds an eight-team draw.
This is the first year in which the Big West champion is guaranteed an automatic bid into the national championship bracket.
Regardless of final season rankings, the only team from the Big West conference that will have a shot at the National Championship is the winner of the conference tournament, whether it is nationally ranked No. 10 UC Irvine or No. 18 UC Davis.
Preview: The saying goes: practice makes perfect.
The UC Davis women’s water polo team hopes its hard work pays off. The Aggies know they must perform close to perfect in order to win the conference championships.
UC Davis will play Pacific in the first round, a team the Aggies have played twice already this season, splitting the contests. Despite losing the last matchup with the Tigers, UC Davis is coming off an encouraging win last weekend.
“I want to bring that same defensive presence and offensive crispness we had in the Santa Clara game,” coach Jamey Wright said. “We are in good shape, but we cannot overlook other teams.”
Wright emphasizes finding the strategies that click for the Aggies on Friday.
“We know how Pacific plays, last time we played them we couldn’t make our shots,” Wright said. “We need to make adjustments and hopefully our work on shooting these past two weeks will pay off.”
Should the Aggies take down Pacific, they will play first-seeded UC Irvine on Saturday, but Wright is taking each game one at a time, saying that each team in the conference can beat the others on any given day.
“It comes down to the focus of the team, taking it one possession at a time,” Wright said. “The only game we are worried about is Pacific, who we know we can beat if we execute.”
– Matthew Yuen