Sept. 2, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's water polo team will begin the season ranked 19th nationally by the Collegiate Water Polo Association, as its preseason poll was released this week. Last season, the Broncos finished their campaign also ranked 19th by the CWPA. "We are happy to start off the season ranked 19th," said head coach Keith Wilbur. " There are a lot of people out there that are not aware of Santa Clara water polo, so being in the top 20 poll really helps to increase awareness of our program." Santa Clara returns three of its top four scorers, along with starting goalkeeper Peter Moore from a 2003 squad that went 17-13. With experienced veterans and a talented crop of newcomers, Wilbur is excited about the direction of his team. "We know that this year's ranking for the most part comes from our performance last season, so now our goal is to build off last season and hopefully continue to improve," said Wilbur. "Our first four games are against teams ranked in the top 10, so we are going to find out right away where we are and what we need to do to get to that next level." Bay Area rival Stanford claims the top spot in the poll after finishing second in the country last season. Defending national champion USC, UCLA, California and Pepperdine round out the top five. The Broncos will start off their season against the top-ranked Cardinal Saturday at Stanford in a noon match-up. Next week, the tough early schedule continues as SCU heads to Southern California for a meeting with eighth-ranked Loyola Marymount on Friday before the two-day the Redlands Tournament over the weekend. Saturday, Santa Clara will take on fifth-ranked Pepperdine in an 11:30 match before playing ninth-ranked UC San Diego at 4:30 p.m. in its fourth straight match against a team ranked in the top 10.