Event: Big West Conference Tournament
Teams: UC Davis vs. UC Irvine
Records: Aggies, 14-15 (1-6); Anteaters, 19-8 (6-1)
Where: Anteater Aquatics Center — Irvine, Calif.
When: Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Who to Watch: Senior Carmen Eggert has been one of the main goal scorers for the Aggies this season. Eggert is having a fantastic senior year as she has scored 71 goals this season in only 29 games played. To put this in perspective, her 2.45 goals per game average is the third-highest average in Big West Conference history. Also, her total of 71 goals this season is the sixth-highest single-season scoring output ever in the conference.
Such scoring production has certainly made the Aggies a dangerous team to play against. With an average of 9.3 goals per game, UC Davis is capable of scoring goals in a hurry. Eggert is certainly a major component in the offense.
However, Eggert’s offense is not solely dependent on her ability to score. She also has the ability to distribute the ball and create scoring opportunities for her teammates. Eggert has 23 assists this year, which is fourth highest on the team. She has been able to do it all this season.
As the Aggies face a tough UC Irvine team in the first round of the Big West Conference tournament, they will need to rely on consistent scoring and experience to beat the second-seeded Anteaters in Irvine. Eggert provides both of these things, as she is a senior with experience in tournament play and has a knack for scoring goals. She will be a big key to UC Davis’ hope of success in the tournament.
Did you know? UC Irvine has owned the Big West Conference tournament for water polo since the tournament’s inception in 2009. The Anteaters have won all four Big West Conference championships to date, racking up a perfect 10-0 record in tournament play.
UC Irvine also happens to have had all four of the tournament MVPs playing on its team. Thus, the Anteaters have a serious history of success in the tournament and are looking to add to their enormous trophy collection.
Last year’s final was a showdown between No. 1 seed UC Irvine and No. 2 seed UC Davis. Unfortunately, the Aggies were unable to come up with the win as they suffered a 10-5 defeat to the Anteaters. Maybe this year UC Davis can be the one who breaks UC Irvine’s impressive streak of success in the tournament.
Preview: As the Aggies enter postseason play this season, they face one of the toughest teams in the conference. The Anteaters have had a great season, going 6-1 in conference play. This was good enough to get them the second seed in the tournament.
“It should be a challenge; UC Irvine has won the past four Big West tournaments and they have the advantage of playing at home,” said head coach Jamey Wright. “We have played them close before and a late goal cost us the game.”
On the bright side, the Aggies have been playing well as of late. With two wins in a row heading into the conference tournament, UC Davis definitely has some confidence heading to Irvine.
“We’ve played well in a lot of our conference games. We’ve played well enough to win in all of the games,” Wright said. “So the combination of the two wins heading into the tournament and our conference games gives us confidence that we will do well.”
Seniors Jessica Dunn and Eggert are two of the key offensive players as they have combined to score 127 goals this season. That is roughly 47 percent of the Aggies’ total goals. The duo has also contributed 64 assists. UC Davis will need these seniors to provide leadership and results in order for them to take on the talented Anteaters.
KENNETH LING can be reached at email@example.com.