- Weidler closes out "one of the finest seasons in program history"
- Causeway Classic: Aggies fall short against undefeated Sac State
- Water polo Aggies open NCAA play vs. Pacific Dec. 1 in Berkeley
Updated 1:20 p.m. Dec. 1: The Aggies fell to the Pacific Tigers, 11-7, in their quarterfinal match this afternoon in the NCAA men's water polo championship tournament at Spieker Aquatics Complex, UC Berkeley. The Aggies finished the season with a 19-8 record and the championship title of the Western Water Polo Association.
The NCAA’s fall championship season is underway, with the Aggies represented by one team, men’s water polo, and one individual, cross country’s Brianna Weidler.
They kept it close Saturday with Sacramento State, but the Aggies fell 27-21 in the 68th Causeway Classic before a sold-out crowd in Hornet Stadium — missing out on a possible at-large berth in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. The Ags finished the year 6-5 overall, including five wins in a row leading up to the Causeway Classic.
Weidler competed last Saturday (Nov. 19) in her NCAA Division I final, running the 6K course at Oklahoma State University in 20 minutes, 17 seconds and two-tenths — placing 51st in the field of 254 runners — wrapping up what Aggie Athletics described as “one of the finest seasons in Aggie women’s cross country history.”
The sophomore, a native of Temecula, California, qualified for the final with a time of 19:28.7 for seventh place at the NCAA’s West Regional meet Nov. 11, the best NCAA performance by an Aggie in program history.
She ran a tenth of a second faster in winning the Big West Conference title on Oct. 29 at UC Riverside, more than 20 seconds faster than the runner-up, and subsequently was named the Big West Cross-Country Athlete of the Year.
Weidler burst onto the scene a year ago, earning Big West Freshman of the Year honors, and that familiarity of putting a solid meet together carried over to her postseason in 2022.
“After my conference finish, I had no doubts that I was capable of running with the other girls in the top 10 at regionals,” Weidler said. “I just wanted to stay calm, have fun with the experience and hopefully qualify for nationals.”
That is exactly what she did, becoming the first Aggie since Kim Conley and Kaitlin Gregg in 2008 to represent the Aggies at the national meet..
“The opportunity to represent UC Davis on a national level means the world to me, especially because this was my dream school for years.” Weidler added. “It also reflects how our team has been developing with all of the hard work that we have been putting in.”
Meanwhile, the Aggie men’s water polo team was at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles last weekend, competing as the No. 1 seed in the Western Water Polo Association, or WWPA, tournament — and winning it in an overtime thriller for an automatic berth in the NCAAs. The win marked the Aggie program’s seventh WWPA title since 1996 and fifth in the last seven years (excluding 2020 when the conference canceled its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
After winning the WWPA’s regular season title with an 8-0 record, the Aggies needed three wins in the conference tournament to advance to the NCAAs for the ninth time. The Aggies won their first two games, 22-6 over No. 9-seed Fresno Pacific and 12-7 over No. 4-seed Santa Clara.
Sunday (Nov. 20) brought the championship match: the Aggies vs. the No. 3-seed Tritons of UC San Diego. The Aggies came back twice from one-goal deficits late in the fourth quarter, which ended with the teams even at 10, setting up two three-minute overtime periods.
After trading goals with the Tritons in the first OT, the Aggies came out on top in the second OT: final score 13-12. “Redshirt sophomore Tyler Mrkaich was named the tournament’s most valuable player after scoring six of the 13 Aggie goals, including the eventual game winner in overtime,” Aggie Athletics reported. “The Clovis native scored three of his six goals in the clutch, finding the net late in the fourth quarter and twice in overtime.”
Goalkeeper Aaron Wilson, tournament MVP in 2021, joined Mrkaich on the 2022 all-tournament team, making nine saves on 28 shots on goal.
Will Nomura joined the duo on the all-tournament first team, while Levi Murtaugh garnered second-team accolades. Nomura added two goals in the winning effort, while Murtaugh added one. Logan Anderson and Holden Neach each scored twice for the Aggies, with Neach’s goals coming late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 10, and early in the second OT to put the Aggies up 12-11.
The Aggies (19-7) will open against the Pacific Tigers (21-6) at 3 p.m. PST Thursday, Dec. 1. Watch the livestream here. Here is the schedule after that:
- Saturday, Dec. 3 — Semifinal Game 1, winner of UC Davis-Pacific opening round game vs. defending champion California (21-2), 2 p.m. PST (livestream on NCAA.com)
- Sunday, Dec. 4 — Championship game, winner of Semifinal Game 1 vs. winner of Semifinal Game 2 (Princeton, Fordham, USC or UCLA), 3 p.m. (on ESPNU television)
Aggie Athletics contributed to this report.