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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Women’s water polo places fourth in Big West Conference Tournament


Hawai’i edges out UC Davis in last seconds of match, wins 10-9

Coming off a 14-2 loss in the semi-finals against UC Irvine, the UC Davis women’s water polo team finished its season with a loss to the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine on Sunday, April 30. Hawai’i beat UC Davis 10-9 in the third-place game of the Big West Conference Tournament. The Aggies left the Schaal Aquatics Center ranked 11th nationally and ended their season with a record of 16-18.

The first quarter was a defensive battle that began with UC Davis winning the sprint. Senior goalkeeper Avery Dotterer didn’t let anything past her, blocking every attempt. Junior attacker Sammy Preston skipped in a lone goal in the final five seconds of the quarter.


The second quarter saw each team step up their offense. Hawai’i managed two goals in the first two minutes of the quarter, taking a 2-1 lead. That lead didn’t last long against a goal by junior utility Paige Virgil. Hawai’i responded with another two goals, but once again, that lead didn’t last. Sophomore utility Annie Kutt scored for UC Davis, followed by another Aggie goal from Preston. Junior center Greta Kohlmoos gracefully lobbed a goal in, evening out the score after another Hawai’i point. In response to Hawai’i’s sophomore attacker, Irene Gonzalez’s second goal of the quarter, Preston barred in another point, ending the quarter tied at 6-6.

“This was the best we’ve played in a while,” Kutt said. “Hawai’i wasn’t expecting that from us.”

The Aggies and the Wahine each racked up two more goals in the third quarter, with junior center Jill Bushman and Kutt each scoring once. The Rainbow Wahine came back in full force during the second half of the quarter, scoring twice.

The fourth quarter was truly the deciding quarter of the game. At the top of the quarter, the Aggies and the Wahine were tied at 8-8 and remained neck and neck until the last minute. After a power play goal, Hawai’i took the lead. Virgil scored a tying point in response. Despite Dotterer’s aggressive defense at the cage, where she had four saves following the most recent Hawai’i point, the Rainbow Wahine managed a winning goal and brought the final score to 10-9.


“It was an exciting game, obviously,” said head coach Jamey Wright. “It’s always a little more fun to win those exciting games than to lose them, but really we played such a poor game [Saturday], I was glad that the energy was so much better, the effort was better, the execution was better. It was really more reflective of how good of a team we are. It was just a super effort. It was a good way to send the seniors out. We want to finish on something that’s memorable.”

Following the tournament, the Aggies are already looking ahead to next season.

“I think we need to just keep doing the things that work well for us,” Wright said. “We were able to swim with [Hawai’i], our fitness level is good. I think we need to improve our shooters. We had a lot of opportunities, especially yesterday, that we didn’t finish off. A lot of shooting, a lot of offense, and maybe a little more legs. Getting ready for next year, legs are a big thing.”


Written by: Liz Jacobson — sports@theaggie.org


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