Tigers Look To Continue Hot Start At UC Davis Challenge
After a week's hiatus from competition, the No. 18 Pacific women's water polo team resumes competition at the UC Davis Challenge this Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Schaal Aquatics Center. The Tigers open play versus Cal Lutheran at 9 a.m. before squaring off with the host and 14th-ranked Aggies at 1:15 pm that afternoon.
Through eight games, Pacific (6-2) has matched last year's record for best start in school history. Prior to last season, the Tigers had never owned six wins after its first eight matches. A victory over Cal Lutheran would mark Pacific's seventh win of the year and would see this year's squad stand alone with the mark for the best start in the program's 17-year history.
The Tigers last competed at the Pacific Invitational back on Feb. 2, going a perfect 3-0 in their first home matches. Pacific escaped an upset bid from CSU East Bay, 8-7, to open the day before cruising past Azusa Pacific, 13-6, in a rematch from the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite back in January. In the invite's de facto championship game, the Tigers edged then-No. 16 Hartwick, 9-7, to finish unblemished on the day.
A big reason for the Tigers' early success has been the stellar play of their goalkeeper, junior Michele Relton. The Canada native has racked up a total of 94 blocks in Pacific's eight matches and has recorded double-digit saves in seven games. She became the school's all-time saves leader with her second block against CSU East Bay at the Pacific Invitational and now owns 717 career saves. Relton now owns every saves record in school history after recording 315 saves during her freshman season to eclipse the single-season mark and breaking the single-game record with 19 blocks against CSU Northridge during the 2012 campaign. UC Davis (1-5) has been the victim of an extremely challenging schedule to open its 2013 season.
The Aggies' lone win came against Sonoma State back in January while their losses have come at the hands of Indiana, San Jose State, Stanford and Hawai'i. Jessica Dunn and Carmen Eggert lead UCD in scoring, accounting for more than 50-percent of the team's offense. Riane Woods has seen a majority of the time in goal, blocking 44 shots on the year. Cal Lutheran has played just one game thus far, dropping an 18-3 decision at UCLA last Saturday.
Jordan Card scored two of the Regals' three goals while Kylee Tomasetti recorded four saves in the first half before being replaced at intermission.