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Davis, California

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Men’s water polo places first in conference, defeats UC San Diego


UC Davis Men’s Water Polo wins out over UC San Diego 7-5 to clinch the top seed in the conference, going undefeated

It was a full day of UC Davis sports last Saturday, with women’s volleyball, men’s soccer and football all played on the same day on the UC Davis campus. And at Schaal Aquatics Center, the UC Davis men’s water polo team won a hard-fought match against the UC San Diego Tritons, winning 7-5.

Going into the game, both teams were 5-0 in conference. This victory ensured that the Aggies have an undefeated 6-0 conference season and an overall record of  21-4. As a result, UC Davis clinched the first seed spot in the Western Water Polo Association Championship.


Sophomore utilities Sasa Antunovic and Morgan Olson-Fabbro, sophomore center defender Riley Venne, sophomore attackers Ido Goldschmidt and Marcus Anderson and junior attacker Cory Laidig all posted goals for the Aggies. Junior goalkeeper Spencer Creed earned nine saves throughout the game.

The Aggies never fell behind in the match, but a hard fought 6-1 lead slowly decreased to a one-goal margin halfway through the fourth quarter. Laidig and Olson-Fabbro each put up goals for the Aggies in the first period of play, while the Tritons put one in the back of the net, bringing the first period to a 2-1 score. Venne and Anderson each scored a goal in the second period to bring the halftime score to a 4-1 Aggie lead.

Approaching the third period of play, Antunovic put the ball in the back of the net for UC Davis at the 3:31 mark, while Goldschmidt placed another one in the back of the net for the Aggies soon after, bringing the team’s lead to 6-1. Even though the Aggies would keep the lead, the Tritons scored two goals of their own in the third period, at the 2:45 and 2:09 marks, shortening the score to 6-3.

The Tritons put two more in the back of the net in the fourth period of play, scoring four unanswered goals for San Diego and reducing the Aggie lead to one. Antunovic ended the eight-minute scoreless period for UC Davis, giving the Aggies a more comfortable 7-5 lead, which they kept for the remainder of the match.

“I think that our team is learning a lot about how to win, but I think we are still capable of playing much better,” said head coach


Daniel Leyson. “If we put away our six-on-five’s, the lead is more dominant. They are able to stay within range and that gives them momentum, which goes back to our execution to put the ball away.”

The Aggies end their regular season conference play undefeated, and with one game left in the regular season they look to improve their overall record even more.

“We have a good feeling about our team right now because we have proven that we are a good team,” Leyson said. “There is a lot of room for improvement and the teams are only going to get harder.”

This win for UC Davis was the second consecutive season that men’s water polo team has been undefeated in conference. The team also needs one more win in order to tie the school record of 22 overall wins in a season, currently held by the 2007 and 2011 teams.

The Aggies have one more nonconference match at home against Pacific on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 6 p.m.

“We approach every game the same in regards to intensity and preparation. We try to make sure that we don’t change anything in our preparation, just fine tune our abilities,” Creed said. “When we are going into a game, we want to come in with the same mentality. We are going to be ready for it, but at the end of the day we have to prepare for each game the same regardless of opponent.”


Written by: Ryan Bugsch — sports@theaggie.org


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