Friday, April 24, 2015

Aggies confident for WWPA tournament

From page B1 | November 15, 2012 |

UCD senior Matt Vowell, an All-WWPA first-teamer, leads the Aggies into this weekend's conference tournament. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

The UC Davis men’s water polo team knows from experience that just one goal can make or break an entire season of hard work and dedication.

With this thought ever-present in the Aggies’ minds, they depart for Los Angeles to compete in the Western Water Polo Association Tournament this weekend at Whittier College.

Working in favor of the fourth-seeded UCD squad is a favorable opening matchup. The locals face off Friday with No. 5 Santa Clara, a team they have already defeated three times in 2012.

But the Aggies — who are ranked 16th in the nation — cannot breathe easy, because they know an encounter with top-seeded UC San Diego looms. The 10th-ranked Tritons bested UCD, 11-8, in a Nov. 1 meeting, and feature the WWPA Player of the Year in junior Josh Stilling.

The competition is fierce because only one team from the conference can earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, hosted by USC on Dec. 1-2.

The Aggies are all too aware of this reality. In 2011, UCD battled through Air Force and Loyola Marymount to get to the WWPA title match, where it fell to UCSD by just one goal in an 8-7 heartbreaker.

Head coach Steve Doten said his Aggies have cleared the hurdle of a 2012 campaign full of different personnel rotations and injuries, and are fully capable of making a return trip to the finals. He explained that accomplishing that is going to depend on keeping opponents off the scoreboard.

“It’s going to come down to our defense,” said Doten, who is in his 12th year at the UCD helm. “If we can hold people to six, seven or eight goals — with our offense potential — we’ll win those games. We’ve got to stay really connected on that front.”

While the Aggies rely on a team-based defense, sophomore utility Chris Richardson’s responsibility to support junior center defender Stuart Dooley and goalie Philip Bates (an All-WWPA freshman team selection) are key to protecting the net.

Richardson was named to the all-conference second team on Wednesday for his efforts. The honor came just days he scored seven goals — the highest total by an Aggie in 15 years — in a 13-11 victory over Santa Clara on Sunday.

Another UCD utility player, senior Matt Vowell, earned a first-team All-WWPA nod. Doten praised the veteran Aggie’s ability to lead, and recognized his prowess on defense.

Vowell, who played high school water polo at Jesuit, outlined what UCD has been concentrating on in its preparation for this weekend:

“Our biggest area for improvement has been our 6-on-5 (formation). On top of that, just making sure everyone is on the same page in every moment of the game — no matter the situation.”

In addition to his defense, Vowell has been a standout on the offensive end, as evidenced by the four hat tricks he has netted thus far in 2012. He showed off his passing ability with five assists in the recent win over Santa Clara.

For the season, Vowell leads UCD in assists (40) and has contributed 31 goals and 58 drawn exclusions. If he can post five more assists in the upcoming WWPA tournament, he will break former Aggie Grant Muenter’s school record for assists in a single season (44).

This southpaw who likes to share has been to the conference competition before, and realizes all that is hanging in the balance for UCD.

“How we do at this tournament is the definition of a successful season,” Vowell said. “Our ultimate goal is to get into the championship game and win it.

“The morale is as good as it has been all season. The team is peaking right now, and everyone has their mind in the right place. We’re ready to play some water polo.”

Doten agrees with his senior standout and expects the positive mind-set to serve the local men well in the days ahead.

“The confidence makes this the fun part of the year,” Doten said. “The guys are playing exceptionally well right now, and everyone is excited — so I am too.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052.



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery



    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12





    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery



    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5