Nov. 4, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Sophomore Dan Figoni scored five goals to lead the Santa Clara University men's water polo team to a 13-12 victory over UC Santa Cruz this afternoon in a Western Water Polo Association match at Leavey Pool.
With the victory, the Broncos improve to 9-12 and top UC Santa Cruz for the second time in as many tries this season. The Slugs, currently ranked third in Division III, fall to 12-12 overall.
Figoni scored once in the first quarter and then added two straight in the second period to give Santa Clara a 6-3 lead. Sophomore Logan Gee scored a quick goal to give the Broncos a 7-3 lead midway through the second period. Freshman Mark Oda walked the ball in and sent a great pass to Gee, who was hanging out on the left side of the pool and took a quick shot that squeeked through a narrow gap between the left post and the Slug goalkeeper's span.
Bronco sophomore Gareth Owens made two great saves midway through the quarter, but UCSC's Darren Nelson cut the Bronco lead to three. After two UCSC shots hit the right post, a third try by Casey Moon found the net to cut the lead to two. The Slugs reduced the lead one more time before the half off another rebound, this time with Mike Webb scoring for Santa Cruz. Santa Clara was able to post an 8-6 halftime advantage with goals by sophomore Kenny Flanagan and Gee.
"We made the game a little to easy for Santa Cruz," head coach Steve Hanson said. "We had too many turnovers and made some risky and costly decisions, but luckily for us, Santa Cruz didn't capitalize on all of them. We did have several minutes of great water polo and we improved on our power plays, both offensively and defensively."
The Broncos maintained their lead through the second half, as each team scored twice in the third quarter. Nelson, who led the Slugs with four goals on the afternoon, scored to pull UCSC to within one at 11-10. Santa Clara took a three-goal lead into the final two minutes, but saw Bryan McGarry close it to a two-goal differential. Adam Smith scored with just 37 seconds remaining in the contest for the final margin.
Owens led the Broncos with 10 blocks in the match, while UCSC's netminder, Matt Smith, finished with five.
The Broncos will play an exhibition game next Saturday, November 10, against the Bay Area Masters. That match will begin in Saratoga at noon. The team will return to conference action in Los Angeles for the WWPA Championships, November 16-18.
Santa Clara 13, UC Santa Cruz 12
Scoring 1 2 3 4 - F
Santa Cruz 3 3 2 4 - 12
Santa Clara 4 4 2 3 - 13
UC Santa Cruz Goals: Darren Nelson (4), Adam Smith (3), Casey Moon, Jake Yeager, Mike Webb, Bryan McGarry, Hank Stoffers.
Santa Clara Goals: Dan Figoni (5), Grant Allison (3), J.P. Doucette (2), Logan Gee (2), Dan O'Connell.
Saves: Gareth Owens (SCU) 10, Matt Smith (UCSC) 5.