Tough competition

No. 15 UC Davis women’s water polo threw away a chance to upset No. 5 San Jose State and was later blown out by No. 1 Stanford at last weekend’s Speedo Invitational in Berkeley.

The Aggies squandered chances in a 10-9 loss to the Spartans, and the Cardinal showed why they are the top-ranked team in the nation with a 19-7 romp in the afternoon match.

With the losses, UC Davis falls to 2-4 this season.

Saturday — No. 5 San Jose State 10, No. 15 UC Davis 9

UC Davis played a streaky game against San Jose State in the morning game of the weekend’s tournament. The Aggies opened with a 3-1 lead after the first quarter, but by halftime were down 6-4.

Junior Jessica Dunn, who netted four goals in the morning match, helped UC Davis turn the deficit into an 8-7 lead with 1:18 remaining in the third period.

With the score tied 8-8 going into the fourth, the Aggies misfired on the first of four 6-on-5 advantages, and the Spartans capitalized, scoring two straight goals.

“It was a great game, but we couldn’t close it out,” head coach Jamey Wright said. “We just couldn’t execute; you have to convert the 6-on-5s, especially in the fourth quarter. It’s like making your free throws down the stretch, but we didn’t capitalize.”

Senior Ariel Feeney added two goals and goalkeeper Riane Woods posted 11 saves.

Saturday — No. 1 Stanford 19, No. 15 UC Davis 7

In the afternoon, Stanford held an 8-4 lead at halftime before scoring seven unanswered goals in the third quarter, foiling any chance for a UC Davis upset.

Sophomore Hannah Curran posted a hat trick in the setback to the defending national champions.

“If you make ill-advised plays and turn the ball over against a fast and opportunistic team like Stanford, they’ll cash in every time,” Coach Wright said. “They’re a really talented team, but playing against all the tough teams now will help with conference play and I look at this as good experience-building for us.”

Wright played every player this weekend, and said he is very pleased with how balanced the group is, noting that the second unit played extremely well against San Jose State and kept the first unit well rested.

Oddly enough, UC Davis will face both teams again in next weekend’s Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto on Saturday. There is no rest for the weary, as the Aggies will also play No. 3 USC on Sunday.

RUSSELL EISENMAN can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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