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Davis, California

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Aggies defeated by UC San Diego

UC Davis women’s water polo team suffers last-minute loss to UC San Diego Tritons


By EVA MACHADO — sports@theaggie.org


UC Davis women’s water polo opened their Friday, April 7 game with a strong lead over Big West Conference competitors UC San Diego Tritons — ranked No.18 on the conference’s rankings — at Schaal Aquatics Center. The game quickly shifted in the third period, though, after the Tritons pulled ahead and ultimately secured the victory late in the game, defeating the Aggies,10-9. 

The Aggies took a quick lead early in the game with third-year utility player Grace Pelkey scoring the first goal against the Tritons. Fourth-year center Noëlle Wijnbelt followed with the next goal of the first period, putting UC Davis in the lead, 2-0. The Tritons scored one goal before Aggies’ red-shirt first-year Gianna Nocetti netted her first goal of the game, restoring the Aggies’ two-point lead going into the second period.

Going into the second period, the Tritons came out playing aggressively, scoring two straight goals with no retaliation from the Aggies. These unanswered goals leveled the score between the teams to 3-3 and began an aggressive back-and-forth battle that would last for the duration of the match, showcasing the skill of both teams. 

First-year attacker Madison Sparre scored the Aggies’ next goal with a powerful shot. Following this lead switch, the Tritons scored their third goal of the period, leveling the score at 4-4. Second-year attacker Kelly Hungerford scored the last goal of the second period, solidifying the Aggies’ lead of 5-4 going into the third period.

The Tritons started the third period strong, taking the lead with two goals. Nocetti answered back, scoring the Aggies’ first goal of the period and leveling the score, 6-6.

Following Nocetti’s second goal of the game, UC San Diego took the lead with two more consecutive goals. The Aggies struggled to keep up at this point, and could not answer the Tritons’ aggressive attack throughout the rest of the third period, with no successful shots on goal until the final seconds of the third period, when Sparre scored her second goal of the game.

Tensions were high among the players and crowd as the Tritons led 8-7 at the opening of the fourth period. The back-and-forth action resumed and both UC San Diego and UC Davis scored within the first half of the period, making it 9-8. 

The Tritons maintained their lead, scoring their second and final goal of the period. Nocetti completed her own hat trick, netting the Aggies’ second goal of the period and the final goal of the game. The Aggies were unable to tie up the score, and the UC San Diego Tritons won 10-9.

Despite UC Davis’s loss, this game showcased the Aggies’ persistence and deep talent. The team had many scoring players, including Nocetti and Hungerford, who both scored multiple goals. Nocetti got her third hat trick of the season and Hungerford scored two goals, along with two assists.

Following UC Davis’s loss to UC San Diego, the Aggies’ conference standing was 2-2, and their overall standing was 14-11. This game was the fifth game of the Aggies’ seven-game homestead.

On Saturday, April 8, the Aggies faced Big West competitor CSU Fullerton, beating the Titans and improving their conference standing to 3-2 and their overall standing to 15-11. There are two more games before the Big West Conference Tournament begins.

The Aggies will face their next Big West competitor on April 15, taking on Long Beach State at Schaal Aquatics Center. This game will be the last home game of the season, as the Aggies will end the season on the road at the University of Hawai’i on April 22.


Written by: Eva Machado — sports@theaggie.org