Hawai’i edges UC Davis 7-6 in Big West showdown

RAUL MORALES / AGGIE

Aggies score two late goals, cannot complete comeback

The UC Davis women’s water polo team, ranked 12th nationally, spent Saturday afternoon hosting the Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine. Coming off a recent loss to Long Beach State, the Aggies had their work cut out for them. Two weeks prior, eighth-ranked Hawai’i nearly upset the top-ranked University of Southern California. The Aggies battled throughout the game but ultimately came up just short of the upset, falling 7-6.

The two teams struggled to find the net for the first five minutes of the opening quarter. UC Davis opened the scoring at the 3:13 mark with a goal from junior center Greta Kohlmoos. The goal gave Kohlmoos 58 goals on the season, moving her into sole possession of seventh place in the Aggies single-season scoring records. The Aggie lead would not last long, though, as Hawai’i answered moments later with a goal of its own.

The Rainbow Wahine held a 4-2 lead over the Aggies at the half, largely due to their ability to keep rotating fresh athletes into the game.

RAUL MORALES / AGGIE

“[The Wahine are] good all around, they have six great players that [start] and another great three or four [players] that come off the bench, so they’re [really] stacked,” junior utility Paige Virgil said.

In the third quarter the Aggie offense came alive. Goals by senior utility Hannah Harvey and Virgil put the Aggies at an even 4-4 against the Rainbow Wahine. However, Hawai’i once again rose to the challenge and retook the lead 5-4 before the end of the third period.

In the final quarter, the Rainbow Wahine scored two quick goals to take a commanding 7-4 lead over the Aggies. But the Aggies would not go down without a fight, as Virgil added two more goals to bring her total to three on the day and 56 on the season. The first of Virgil’s two goals in the quarter was a swift behind-the-back no-look screamer that the Hawai’i goalie had no chance of saving.

“My team [contributed to my performance], we were so positive, we kept pumped up,” Virgil said. “[Even when] we [got] down 7-4, we came back, set up a play and executed it well.”

Despite Virgil’s stellar performance, the Aggies simply ran out of time, and the clock expired with Hawai’i playing keep-away from UC Davis. In the end, Hawai’i squeaked by with a 7-6 victory.

Despite the loss, UC Davis head coach Jamey Wright was proud of his team’s performance.

“[Hawai’i is] very skilled and I was so proud of how we kept it together, that’s a team that lost to USC by one about 10 days ago and [U]SC is the number one team in the nation,” Wright said.

RAUL MORALES / AGGIE

The thriller dropped the Aggies to 14-15 overall and 2-2 in the Big West conference. When asked about next week’s matchup against the sixth-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters, Wright recognized the differences between Hawai’i and Irvine.

“[UC Irvine] present a lot of problems, but different problems than Hawai’i, so we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Wright said. “[UC Irvine is] really good. We’ll be there and we’ll be ready to go.”

The UC Davis women’s water polo team will matchup against UC Irvine on Saturday, April 15 at 12 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
Written by: Rowan O’Connell-Gates — sports@theaggie.org