No. 13 Broncos Fall To Second-Ranked Cal, 15-4

Nov. 15, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 13 Santa Clara men's water polo team wrapped up its regular-season schedule this afternoon, falling 15-4 to second-ranked California at the Sullivan Aquatic Center. Junior Stephen Hobbs scored twice in the loss as the Broncos were unable to hold off the surging Golden Bears.

Santa Clara opened with the game's first goal at 5:30 in the first period. Hobbs took senior Liam Farrell's pass and tipped it in past Cal goalie Justin Parsons from two meters out. The Bears tied on the next possession when Zach White's shot hit the crossbar and went over the line for a goal.

Cal's Spencer Warden then went on a tear, scoring three straight goals from almost the same spot on the outside left each time, making it 4-1 in favor of the Bears with just under two minutes to play in the first quarter.

Cal made it 5-1 before the period was done though, as Luka Saponjic capitalized on the six-on-five with 19 seconds to go.

In the second quarter, senior Jack Wall rose out of the pool in front of the cage to grab the Bears' lobbing attempt out of mid air and sprung Farrell on the breakaway, but Farrell's skip shot couldn't find the back of the cage as it skipped up over the crossbar.

Neither team was able to score until there was 3:42 to go in the half, when Warden again was successful from the left outside, and the goal spurned two more on the next two possessions to give Cal an 8-1 lead.

Near the end of the half, the Broncos could not get an attempt off and took a shot clock violation with 25 seconds to go. The Bears called a timeout and scored on an improvised play from about seven meters out to end the half at 9-1.

Warden gave Cal a nine-goal lead at 6:25 after the break, this time striking from the right outside.

With 4:30 to go, freshman Patrick Weiss took a cross-pool pass and one-timed the ball towards the net, but Parsons made an incredible effort to get across the face of the cage in time to block the shot.

The next time down the pool for the Bears, sophomore goalie Michael Wishart came up big, stopping Warden's point blank shot off the breakaway. Cal regained the ball though, and drew a kick-out and scored on the resulting power play.

The Bears increased the lead to 11 before Santa Clara was able to get another goal, but Hobbs scored his second straight from the two-spot with 47 seconds to go in the quarter.

Freshman goalie John Nash replaced Wishart in the fourth quarter and made his first save at 6:26. Nash made another huge save at 5:47, knocking down Iosefa Tuiasau's attempt from two meters.

Cal beat Nash for the first time with 2:46 to go in the game to go up 13-2, when Ivan Rackov got a breakaway on his goalie's pass.

Rackov was excluded on the Bronco possession after the goal, and sophomore Brett Zylstra made it count with 2:13 left to play.

A turnover by SCU at 1:50 caused the Bears to score their 14th goal of the game, and an exclusion with 49 seconds left caused the final goal.

Sophomore James Case, who won all four sprints in the game, scored Santa Clara's final goal from right in front of the cage with 23 seconds remaining, ending the game at 15-4.

Hobbs was the leading scorer for the Broncos with two, while Wishart made 12 saves in three quarters. Nash finished with two blocks.

Next up for Santa Clara will be the Western Water Polo Association Championships. The tournament begins Nov. 20 and will be held at Chapman in Orange, Calif.