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First Soccer, Now Water Polo in the NCAAs

By Dateline Staff on November 26, 2019 in University

Another UC Davis team has advanced to NCAA tournament play: men’s water polo, which captured the Western Water Polo Association championship Sunday (Nov. 24), the Aggies’ third conference title in the last four years.

Men’s soccer, the other Aggie team in the NCAAs this fall, also played Sunday, taking on the Louisville Cardinals before a record-setting crowd of 1,703 at Aggie Soccer Field. The visitors got the win, 1-0, in a thrilling match that saw the Aggies nearly tie the game a number of times in the final 20 minutes — but to no avail.

Earlier in the day, at California Baptist University in Riverside, the No. 10-ranked UC Davis men’s water polo team advanced to the NCAAs by defeating No. 11 UC San Diego, the team that beat the Aggies by a goal in last year’s WWPA championship. The Aggies took this year’s title by a score of 14-5.

Aggie goalkeeper Jonah Addington earned the tournament’s most valuable player award. In the final, he paced a defense that limited the preseason favorite Tritons to just 5-of-25 (.200) shooting on the day, making 14 saves and adding a steal.

Other Aggies earning honors: Jack Stafford and Holden Tamblyn, all-tournament first team; and Kyle Reilly, second team. Reilly was among five Aggies who scored two goals each, joining Nir Gross, Yurii Hanley, Max Sample and Spencer Towill.  

Read the complete game report on the athletics website.

The WWPA champion receives an automatic berth in the national tournament, which comprises seven teams altogether. The Aggies (16-7 on the season and riding a nine-game winning streak), will begin tournament play in the quarterfinals, taking on the Pepperdine Waves (24-7) at 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

The semifinals, Saturday, Dec. 7, at UOP, will feature Bucknell, Harvard or defending national champion Southern California against Stanford, at 5 p.m.; and the UC Davis-Pepperdine winner versus the host team, Pacific, at 7 p.m. The championship match, also at UOP, is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at UOP. See the bracket.

Soccer: A record 35 wins over 3 years

Aggie men's soccer player slides toward the ball.
Aggie Jake Haupt collides with a Louisville Cardinal in NCAA match at Aggie Soccer Field. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The stats from Sunday’s soccer match show how the Aggies dominated: They out-shot their opponents 18-5, took seven shots on goal compared to the Cardinals’ one and earned five of the game’s seven corners.

“Without a season-saving effort from its goalkeeper, Louisville could have easily trailed by three or four goals at halftime. Instead, it caught a break and will continue postseason play,” reads the UC Davis account of the game.

UC Davis ended the season with a 13-5-2 overall record, with a win total equal to the program’s Division I-era record originally set by the 2008 squad. The 2019 team’s seven home wins also matched a D-I mark.

Led by a five-member senior class, the Aggies recorded more wins, 35, the last three years than any other team in the Big West Conference. They played for the tournament championship the last three years, falling short until this year.

The 2019 Aggie team is the first in program history to win the Big West regular season and tournament titles, and only the eighth team in conference history to accomplish this feat.

"Thank you to the UC Davis community for all of your support throughout this season,” said Wallis Lapsley, one of the Aggie seniors. “The energy was great, and hopefully that is the standard all student-athletes and sports can build on.”

3 causeway matchups in a week

Eric Bankston and Jason Spencer of athletics communications contributed to this report.

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or