September 14, 2011

Broncos Prepare for Annual Norcal Tournament

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 16 Santa Clara men's water polo team will head east this weekend to Stockton, Calif. for the annual Norcal Tournament.  The Broncos will open up with host No. 5 Pacific on Saturday at noon and then will play the winner or loser of the matchup between No. 4 Stanford and No. 19 St. Francis.  With a difficult tournament on hand, the Broncos will look to better themselves against tough competition.

"I am looking for continued improvement this weekend at Norcals," said Bronco head coach Keith Wilbur.  "Early in the season, I feel our defense has been pretty good, but our offense has struggled.  In a couple of games at the Princeton tournament, our offense started to click, and we are looking to build on that." 

This will be the second time the Broncos have faced Pacific this season after opening up the season against the Tigers two weeks ago. Santa Clara fell 11-2 to the Tigers, but will look to build on that result.

"We only scored 2 goals against UOP in our first game of the season, so I would like to see us create more on the offensive end, and continue to play good defense," said Wilbur.

Last weekend Santa Clara traveled to Princeton for five games. The Broncos dropped their national televised contest to then No. 16 Princeton 9-6, but finished the weekend strong winning their last four games against St. Francis, Brown, MIT and Fordham.

Senior co-captain Michael Wishart continued his dominant play at Princeton, collecting 48 saves, six steals and seven assists.  Junior Patrick Weiss played excellent defense for the Broncos while also leading the team in goals on the weekend with seven.

"I think the overall performance at Princeton was good, but not great," said Wilbur.  "It is early in the season, so we are always going to find things to work on.  However, the team found ways to win two very tight games against good teams on the road, and those are big positives and great learning experiences."   

Record Hunting
Two Broncos are in search of placing their names on the Bronco career leaders list. Daley Meistrell added seven assists to his career total, putting him 20 away from tying Jack Wall as the all-time leader in assists. Case needs seven more goals to tie for 10th all-time in career goals.

Young Guns
Through the first seven games of the season, four different Broncos have registered their first career goals. Jimmy Moore collected his first against California on September 3rd, while Mark Davis, Kyle Surber and Matt Kochalko all registered their first goals at the Princeton Invtational.

Tough Schedule
The Broncos are playing one of their toughest schedules in school history this season. At the beginning of the year, the Broncos schedule featured 13 ranked opponents, with more to come in the Norcal, Socal, and Rodeo tournaments.