Pacific Water Polo Makes History, Splits A Pair At UCD Challenge
The Pacific women's water polo team made history at the UC Davis Challenge Saturday, setting a new mark for the best start in school history. The Tigers opened the day with an 11-6 win over Cal Lutheran, breaking the record for best start in program history in the process as they improved to 7-2 with the victory. The day was soured for Pacific in the afternoon, however, as the host Aggies defeated the Tigers, 12-5.
The Tigers had never won seven of their first nine games in the program's 17-year history. The previous mark of 6-2 was set by last year's team. Pacific (7-3) was led by freshman Gracie Smith, who recorded four goals on the day, including a hat trick versus Cal Lutheran. Sophomore Brydie Pye added three scores for the Tigers. Goalkeeper Michele Relton played all eight quarters on the day, finishing with 17 saves. She blocked 11 shots versus the Regals before stopping six of the Aggies' chances in the afternoon.
The Tigers raced out to a five-goal lead in their first game of the day, holding Cal Lutheran scoreless for the first 13 minutes of the game. Pacific took a 7-2 advantage into halftime thanks to two goals from Mann late in the second frame. The third quarter saw both teams struggle offensively as the Tigers notched the lone goal of the frame with just 17 seconds on the clock. Pacific would take its largest lead of the game, 9-2, early in the fourth quarter on a goal from Smith.
The two teams played even the rest of the way, scoring three goals apiece. Skylar Vasquez led the Regals with a pair of scores while goalkeeper Kylee Tomasetti blocked eight shots in three quarters of work. Pacific's afternoon tilt versus the host Aggies proved a much tougher test. UCD got on the scoreboard first on a power play but Wright answered for the Tigers to tie the match at 1-1 with 5:24 left in the first. Two more goals gave the Aggies a 3-1 lead after one. The Tigers pulled to within one twice in the second quarter, first on Martin's goal early in the frame then at the 2:51 mark, giving the hosts a 4-3 lead heading into intermission.
The second half saw the Aggies separate from Pacific, notching five consecutive goals to break open what was a close, hard-fought contest. Smith broke UCD's run, scoring an advantage goal with 3:49 on the clock, but three more scores from the Aggies ended any hope of a comeback for the Tigers. Keelia Houston led all scorers with four goals. Goalkeeper Jillian Wilding finished the game with 10 saves, stopping a number of chances for Pacific. The Tigers are back in action next weekend at the UC Irvine Invitational. Pacific opens with second-ranked USC at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.
No. 18 Pacific 11, Cal Lutheran 6
Cal Lutheran 0 - 2 - 0 - 4 -- 6
Pacific 3 - 4 - 1 - 3 -- 11 Goals
Pacific - Smith 3, Mann 2, Prlain 2, Pye 2, Adair, Weir
Cal Lutheran - Vasquez 2, Ai, Card, Ingalla, Samarin Goalkeeper Saves
Pacific - Relton 11
Cal Lutheran - Tomasetti 8, Merry
No. 14 UC Davis 12, No. 18 Pacific 5
Pacific 1 - 2 - 1 - 1 -- 5
UC Davis 3 - 1 - 5 - 3 -- 12 Goals
Pacific - Wright 2, Martin, Pye, Smith
UC Davis - Houston 4, Dunn 2, Eggert 2, Bailey, Breen, Curran, Schuleter Goalkeeper Saves
Pacific - Relton 6
UC Davis - Wilding 10