By opening the Western Water Polo Association tournament with a 6-5 win over Santa Clara on Friday, the fourth-seeded UC Davis men earned a semifinal matchup against top-seeded UC San Diego.
The 10th-ranked Tritons led the No. 16 Aggies for most of the Saturday match, but UCD battled back to tie the game late in the final period. UCSD, however, scored the final two goals of the contest to post an 11-9 victory, eliminating the locals from the conference tournament for the second consecutive season.
For the Aggies (14-7), senior Matt Vowell had four goals — one in each quarter — while Bernie Rogers, Colin Hicks, Chris Richardson, Jared Clapham and Teddy Nicholson, a Davis High graduate, each scored one. UCD freshman goalkeeper Philip Bates tallied eight saves.
After the Tritons tallied early in the final quarter to take a 9-6 lead, the Aggies responded with three straight goals — one each by Hicks, Rogers and Vowell — to equalize with 2:25 remaining.
However, WWPA Player of the Year Josh Stiling scored on the next possession to put the Tritons up for good. John Butler netted his second goal at the 1:18 mark complete the scoring. UCD had a 6-on-5 chance and a five-meter penalty down the final stretch but could not convert either opportunity.
On Friday, conference all-freshman selection Bates tallied 11 saves, Nicholson scored two goals and senior Anders MacCarthy netted the game-winner against 19th-ranked and fifth-seeded Santa Clara.
MacCarthy scored the only goal of the fourth quarter, hitting an even-strength attempt with 5:12 remaining to crack the 5-5 tie. The Aggies fended off two Santa Clara power-play opportunities to preserve the win. Hicks, Clapham and DHS grad Trevor Allen also had goals for UCD.
The Aggies will play Loyola Marymount in Sunday’s third-place game at 12:30 p.m.
After a five-game win over Cal State Northridge on Friday, the Aggies paid tribute to seniors Allison Whitson, Caroline Mercado and Kaitlyn Plum in front of a season-high crowd of 1,005 fans on Saturday, but lost their home finale to No. 7 Hawaii.
UCD junior Devon Damelio tallied 13 kills with a .400 hitting average, but the Aggies (16-14, 10-7 Big West) fell 25-17, 25-23, 25-17 to the Rainbow Wahine (24-2), who are undefeated in conference play.
Whitson added 10 kills with two aces and seven digs while Mercado led the Aggies with 15 digs.
On Friday, Whitson hit a career-high 25 kills, while sophomore middle blocker Katie Quinn hit .700, helping UCD hang on for a 25-19, 25-19, 17-25, 23-25, 18-16 victory.
Quinn hit a career-best 14 kills with no errors in 20 swings for the match. At one point, she was 12-0-14 and flirting with Kaersten Hill’s 1996 school record of .813. In addition, Mercado tied her career high of 27 digs, and Plum added 13 digs of her own.
The program also announced last week that it signed three prospective student-athletes to national letters of intent. The prospects are Erika Conners of San Diego, Aima Eichie of Castle Rock, Colo., and Kendall Walbrecht of La Cañada.
All three high school seniors are expected to enroll at UCD for the 2013 school year.
Conners, a 5-foot-10 setter from Francis Parker School who was her team’s MVP as a sophomore in 2010, has led the Lancers to a 31-2 and a berth in the section tournament this fall.
Eichie, the first out-of-state signee during Jamie Holmes’ tenure as head coach, is a 6-1 middle blocker at Rock Canyon High. This season, she has hit 160 kills for a .233 average while leading the Jaguars with 83 total blocks (1.1 per set).
Walbrecht, an outside hitter from La Cañada High who played club volleyball with Aggie sophomores Valerie Brain and Mary Schroeder, is the highest-ranked recruit in school history. She is No. 53 on PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces list. Walbrecht has led the Spartans to four straight undefeated seasons in the Rio Hondo League and four Southern Section playoff berths.
Freshman Marissa Brown set a school record of 10 minutes, 6.98 seconds in the 1,000-yard freestyle, while four Aggies claimed event wins to lead UCD to a 178-117 dual victory over Nevada on Friday at Schaal Aquatics Center.
Brown’s time eclipsed the previous mark of 10:12.78, set by Linda Hermann at the 2007 Big West Conference Championships. She finished second to Nevada’s Jojo Mi, who posted a pool record of 10:06.90. Brown also placed second in the 500 free (5:00.14), behind teammate Samantha Shellem’s season-best 4:55.86.
Shellem also captured the 200 free for UCD (4-2) in 1:52.27, while sophomore Hilary Hunt picked up wins in both backstroke events, recording a 57.46 in the 100 and a 2:05.94 in the 200. Both times are team season bests.
In addition, Aggie junior Liliana Alvarez won both breaststroke events — going 1:04.92 in the 100 and 2:20.72 in the 200 — with senior captain Morgan Lee taking second in each.
Megan Leung notched victories for UCD in the two butterfly events. Her 2:05.15 in the 200 fly surpassed her previous 2012-13 best by more than a full second, while her 57.45 in the 100 fly set another team season high and led a 1-2-3 Aggie sweep.
Lee edged teammate Haley Porter, 24.44 to 24.46, to claim the nine first-place points in the 50 free, then Porter turned around to win the 100 free.
The Aggies also enjoyed a 1-2 finish in the 200 medley relay, with the foursome of Hunt, Alvarez, Leung and junior Sabrina Cochrane compiling a winning time of 1:44.84.
The Aggie program announced Friday that Brynton Lemar, a 6-foot-3 guard from St. Augustine High in San Diego, has signed a national letter of intent to join the team next season.
“We are very excited to have Brynton join our basketball family,” coach Jim Les said. “He is a versatile guard who can score as well as distribute the basketball. His skills, along with his work ethic and character, will make him a big contributor to the future success of UC Davis basketball.”
Lemar averaged 25.0 points per game in the 2011-12 season to lead St. Augustine to a 23-7 record and a spot in the section quarterfinals for the third consecutive season. For his efforts, the combo guard was named to the All-Western League’s first team.
UCD will face Northern Arizona University in its home opener on Sunday. Fans who bring any canned or non-perishable food item with them to The Pavilion to donate to the Food Bank of Yolo County will receive discounted admission. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.