By Stephen Hubbard
Pre Season Record: 12-6 Series Record: 7-5
End of Season Standing: 5T Northwest Regionals eliminated by UC Santa Cruz in the backdoor Quarterfinal (12-15)
Coach: Kevin Cissna (2008-Present)
Handler Taylor Lahey (member of the 2006 Junior National Team) and Ashlin Joye (of the Revolver defensive line) led a group of mostly 4th years to 3rd place at Bay Area Sectionals and 5th at Northwest Regionals. With their finish at Regionals, the Dogs improved their finish for the 3rd consecutive season.
Roster Turnover and Offseason Club Experience:
By far the most significant loss for Davis last season was cutter Ashlin Joye. Davis hopes to replace his athleticism and experience with the likes of veterans Ben Hubbard, Paul Riemenschnieder, Robby Merk and Patrick Lahey, all players that gained club experience this past summer with the Berkeley based PHTB. In addition to having their veterans gain valuable club experience, UC Davis picked up what can only be called an outstanding recruiting class. Obviously Team USA Junior Worlds member and Polar Bears (USAU 2010 Mixed Division Champions) stud Eli Kerns will make an immediate impact, but also watch out for Gunn High School’s (2nd in CA H.S. States to Kerns’ Alameda) Nathan White, David Hwang, and Michael Norcia.
Davis runs a horizontal stack that feels very similar to what was seen from the 2006 USA Juniors team; obviously, this is due to Taylor’s captainship. Short cuts, quick dish passes, and flat throws to space are a staple of their offense. Davis’s defense has been its weak point in the past. While this team has always prided itself on solid fundamentals, a true killer instinct is the missing puzzle piece.
Fall 2010 Performance:
The Sean Ryan Memorial saw the Dogs go 3-0 on Saturday and beating the UCSD tryouts 13-4. After a Quarterfinals win over UCSB, they lost to UCSC in a complete upwind-downwind game on universe point finishing tied for 3rd with Stanford.
Scheduled Regular Season Tournaments:
Santa Barbara Invite, Presidents Day Classic, The Stanford Invite, Davis Ultimate Invitational.
If Davis can maximize the potential of its young players by quickly integrating them into the team’s program, the Dogs will be a force to be reckoned with come Series time. They are very much like UC San Diego, with a bevy of young studs, but, have the benefit of much more experience against the likes of Berkeley and Santa Cruz. 2011 is Taylor Lahey’s last year of eligibility, so if ever he was able to convey his work ethic and love of the game to his younger supporting players, this is the year. As the only member of the team graduating next year, will he captain effectively or fall into the common trap of captains trying to do too much? If he is able to find the right balance, he will have a strong supporting cast in April and May.
If teams look past the Dogs they will be sorry. It remains to be seen, however, if the Dogs will be an occasional sleeper upset team or if they will be considered one of the big guns in the new region. Only the Davis track, gym and practice field have been witness to the work that will answer that question .