Broncos Go 4-0 In The Rodeo

Oct. 25, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 16 Santa Clara men's water polo came out of the weekend with four wins, going undefeated in their second home tournament of the year, "The Rodeo", after picking up two more wins today at the Sullivan Aquatic Center. The Broncos pulled out a come-from-behind victory over Brown in the morning and cruised past Air Force in the second half of the later game.

In the morning against the Bears, Santa Clara took a 3-2 lead in the first quarter but found itself down by two at the half after a less-than-stellar second quarter in which the Broncos allowed five goals.

Senior Jack Wall opened the game's scoring with a 6-on-5 goal and Brown tied it early on the man-advantage after Mitch Klipa was excluded. Wall got another on the power play and his third in the first quarter for the lead.

In the second quarter, defensive let downs led to four straight goals by Brown, but Wall countered to close the gap to two goals to prevent any further damage.

Then junior Stephen Hobbs brought the Broncos within one when he tipped in the ball from three meters out on the power play. The Bears then went back the other way, scoring with a just a few seconds left in the half.

Santa Clara won the third period outscoring Brown 2-1, and much of the momentum turned in favor when sophomore James Case came up with a big steal around the halfway mark of the pool. Case sprinted past the nearest defender, but the chase caused him to lose the ball to the goalie. The next time down though, the Broncos scored thanks to a heads up play by goalie Michael Wishart to find Wall down the flank. With all the defenders focused on Wall, the senior fired the ball cross-pool to Case who stuck it in the cage.

In the fourth quarter another big steal, this time by junior Josh Luebke, gave Santa Clara the go-ahead goal. Luebke forwarded the ball to Daley Meistrell and Meistrell drew a foul on the right side. The sophomore then took advantage of the foul to get the ball to senior Mike Sorgenfrei on the point, who left the ball for Poggetti at two meters. Poggetti then beat the goalie from close range and after that it was all Broncos.

Junior Stephen Hobbs, in place of Poggetti, put the icing on the cake with another goal from the two-meter spot, and Wishart made some key saves to help Santa Clara engineer the come-from-behind win over the Bears.

"We haven't had close win since Princeton," said head coach Keith Wilbur. "It was a tight game and to be down in the fourth and come back and win was awesome. It's good to know we can do that."

In the second game against Air Force, the Broncos offense took some time to fire up, but once it did it rolled.

The two teams were knotted at 1-1 after the first quarter, but Santa Clara exploded for seven goals over the next two quarters while the Falcons only managed one.

The fourth quarter was closer, with the Broncos edging Air Force 3-2, but Santa Clara went on to an 11-4 victory. Poggetti put out a five-goal effort in the final match, giving him 14 total goals for the weekend, while six others had a single goal. Wishart had 11 saves in the game before conceding the role to backup John Nash, who made one save and gave up one goal.

"We played well every game this weekend," said Wilbur. "There was a lot of good competition, and the Air Force game had a little more emphasis on it for us because it's a conference matchup. The last couple of tournaments we've had trouble with the fourth game being our worst, so we were really focused on making that our best game of tournament."

"I thought Poggetti really stood out this weekend, Wall was solid as always, and we had some big play from Hobbs and Wishart. Wishart especially in the second half of the Brown game, he made a positive change in his play after the half and made a big difference in the game."

The Broncos, now 14-6-0, host UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 30 at 2:30 p.m. before beginning a four-game road trip in southern California on Nov. 6.