November 18, 2005

Broncos to Play for Fifth Place at WWPA Championships

Nov. 18, 2005

Los Angeles, Calif. - Finding a way to beat a quality opponent three times in a year is a difficult task to accomplish, but the Santa Clara men's water polo team did just that this afternoon, downing eighth-seeded Santa Cruz 8-7 on the second day of action of the Western Water Polo Association Championships, hosted by Loyola Marymount.  After pulling a mild upset earlier in the day by defeating sixth-seeded Air Force, UC Santa Cruz was unable to stop freshman Jack Wall from finding the back of the net, as he posted a team-high four goals in the winning cause.  The Broncos overcame a first half deficit to edge out the Banana Slugs and will play for a fifth place showing in the conference standings tomorrow.

"The team had a tough start because we were down 3-2 heading into halftime and then at the beginning of the third quarter, our offense started clicking," commented head coach Keith Wilbur. "We built up a sizeable lead and it's great to end the day on such a high note. The guys are excited and looking forward to tomorrow's match against BYU-Hawai'i."

Aside from Wall's offensive contributions, he tallied three steals and one assist. Tom Hendrickson netted two goals in the contest, while Grant Allison and Charlie Moore each chipped in a goal. Jon Greco had an outstanding all-around game, posting three assists and drawing three kickouts, while Allison drew two kickouts and a penalty shot. Leading the Broncos on defense was Michael Petersen, as he notched seven blocks in the victory.

This is the third time this season that Santa Clara has beaten UC Santa Cruz. In the first contest between the two conference foes, the Broncos came out on top with a 5-3 triumph in early October and defeated the Banana Slugs four weeks later by an identical 5-3 score.

"Santa Cruz is one of our main rivals and every time we played them, it's always been a battle. We usually play Santa Cruz three or four times a year, and this is the first time we've gone undefeated against them in a season," said Wilbur. "It's tough to beat a good team three times in a row, especially in a play-off situation."

Santa Clara improves its record to 16-15 on the year and will return to action tomorrow at noon, when the team will face BYU-Hawai'i in the fifth-place match of the WWPA Championships.