The UC Davis men’s water polo team placed fourth at the Western Water Polo Association Championships this past weekend to end their 2012 campaign.
The Aggies brought a fourth-place standing into the conference tournament and played to their seed, winning a quarterfinal matchup against the fifth-seeded Santa Clara team before falling to top WWPA team UC San Diego.
UC Davis finished the season with a 14-18 record and an impressive 12-7 in the conference. The Aggies were 5-17 against top-20 opponents this year.
In the first round of the WWPA tournament, the Aggies stopped the Broncos in a battle of top-20 teams. Ranked 16th and 19th, respectively, both teams were prepared for a battle.
The Aggies emerged victorious in both of the previous contests with Santa Clara this year, but, like those past two games, this one came down to the fourth quarter.
The teams were tied entering the fourth period of play and exchanged blows until senior Anders MacCarthy scored with 5:12 remaining to put the Aggies ahead. UC Davis would hold on to the lead for the victory.
In the next round, the Aggies faced off with the top team in the conference, UCSD. The Tritons were ranked 10th in the nation and proved to be too much for UC Davis to handle. The Aggies got four goals from senior Matt Vowell in the game to help UC Davis overcome a deficit and tie the game in the fourth quarter at 9-9. Unfortunately, the Aggies could not get any further and fell 11-9 to their top-seeded opponents.
In the next and final game of the season UC Davis was taken down by Loyola Marymount by a score of 12-7 to close the season.
In the consolation for third place between the two teams that fell in the semifinals, the Aggies came up short. UC Davis got on the board first when senior Jared Clapham scored less than two minutes into the game, but once LMU scored a couple minutes later, it was all downhill for the Aggies.
The Lions put up four goals in the first and fourth quarter, with four more scores in the middle two quarters to bring their total to 12. The Aggies put up seven goals in the game, but were unable to score in the fourth quarter.
The tournament was held at Slade Aquatic Center and was hosted by Whittier College. The Aggies had two players gain all-conference honors. Vowell’s four goals against UCSD earned him first-team honors on the WWPA All-Tournament team while senior Colin Hicks got second-team honors for his performance over the weekend.
Hicks proved to be a strong offensive threat for UC Davis, contributing two assists, two steals and three goals over the tournament.
Thus concludes the season for the UC Davis men’s water polo team, which will lose several players to graduation. Clapham, Hicks, Vowell, MacCarthy, Russell Hampton, Hank Dickey and Kevin Meisel were all seniors on the team.
— Matthew Yuen