September 22, 2011

Broncos Set for Important Conference Games

The No. 15 Santa Clara University men's water polo team will be back in action this weekend in UC Davis. The Broncos will play three Western Water Polo Association opponents while also taking on No. 3 California. Santa Clara will play Redlands at 8 a.m. and Occidental at 1:50 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 24 and return to the pool on Sun., Sept. 25 against La Verne at 9:10 a.m. and Cal at 3 p.m. 

"Redlands, Occidental, and La Verne are all in our conference," said Bronco head coach Keith Wilbur. "This is the only time we will see these teams during the regular season, so these games will be very important for our seed at conference championships at the end of the season. "

The Broncos (6-5 overall; 0-1 WWPA) will look to pick up their first conference win of the year after falling to then-No. 11 UC Davis 9-6 at last weekends Norcal Tournament. Redlands, Occidental, and La Verne are ranked third, ninth, and 10th respectively in the CWPA Division Three National rankings. Santa Clara will look to learn from their loss to California earlier this season in Berkeley.

"Cal is our one game that is out of conference," said Wilbur . "They are a great team, but we feel we can do better than we did against them earlier in the season.  This is a game where I am really going to be focused on how we play rather than what the score is."

SCU finished 10th in last weekend's NorCal Tournament in Stockton, Calif.,  tying their best finish in program history. The Broncos also finished 10th in 2009. Overall, Coach Wilbur was  was pleased with his team's performance.

"We got off to a shaky start at NorCals in the first game against UOP, but after that game, I thought the team played really well," said Wilbur.  "We won two games against quality opponents in St. Francis and West Valley College.  A lot of people think UC Davis is the favorite to win our conference, and even though we lost that game, I thought we were competitive.  I also think we found some areas where we can improve for the next time we match up with them."

Senior co-captain Michael Wishart continued his dominant play collecting a total of 49 saves, including a career-high 18 in the Broncos win over No. 19 St. Francis. Senior Marcus Akerland had an outstanding weekend as well, collecting five goals, three assists, six steals and three field blocks. 

Sophomore David Guibord got his first career starts as well as tallying a career-high four assists in the Broncos win over West Valley. James Case and Theo Nasser worked to provide SCU with power play opportunities all weekend, as the two of them combined for 13 earned ejections.

Record Hunting

Two Broncos are in search of placing their names on the Bronco career leaders list. Daley Meistrell added six assists to his career total, putting him 14 away from tying Jack Wall as the all-time leader in assists. Case finished the weekend with eight goals, giving him 119 in his career. Case now sits 10th all-time in goals scored.

Young Guns
Four players have scored their first career goals this season. 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 most difficult schedules in school history this season. Through 11 games this season, the Broncos have seen eight ranked opponents.

P of the Week
Michael Wishart was named the Sep. 21st WWPA Co-Player of the week for his outstanding weekend at the annual Nor Cal Tournament. Wishart tallied 49 saves in four games, including a career-high 18 against No. 19 St. Francis. Wishart was also named WWPA player of the week for the week of Oct. 27, 2010.