The core of the UC Davis men’s water polo team is going to look a little different next year.
After four seasons as the starter, Kevin Peat will leave the school as arguably the best goalkeeper in UC Davis history.
The Walnut Creek, Calif. native finished the season with 335 saves, a UC Davis record.
The senior became the third Aggie to surpass the 1,000-save milestone, amassing 1,011 stops over the course of his career.
“Some say Andrew Luck should win the Heisman Trophy because he is like a coach on the field and calls his own plays,” said Head Coach Steve Doten. “Kevin has done the same for us this year and more, running our defenses in games and training our young goalies in practices. He is not only reliable in the cage, but in the weight room, the classroom and the locker room. He is a great teammate and leader.”
As team captain, Peat’s responsibilities extended beyond guarding the cage, including coming up clutch in big games when the team needed it most.
Peat’s 17-save performance against Loyola Marymount University in the Western Water Polo Association Conference Tournament not only helped him earn first-team all-tournament honors, but gave the Aggies a chance to upset the four-time defending champions in triple overtime.
“I had never beaten [Loyola Marymount] previously while playing at UC Davis,” Peat said. “The team couldn’t have played any better. It was the best and most rewarding game I was a part of in my career.”
Each season brings change as players graduate and move on, and to replace a player of Peat’s quality will be no easy task.
“The worst part of this season is that when it is over we graduate [Peat]” Doten said. “Not having the team captain and one of the best goalies in UC Davis history in the cage, will be the biggest change in 2012.”
RUSSELL EISENMAN can be reached at email@example.com.