Men's Water Polo Finishes Opening Weekend with 3-1 Record

REDLANDS, Calif. - Finishing the first weekend of the 2012 season at the Inland Empire Tournament, No. 15 Santa Clara men's water polo split two games. Santa Clara fell to No. 5 UC Santa Barbara 13-7 and beat Redlands 11-6. With the split Santa Clara is 3-1 on the young season.

Tucker Carlson led the Broncos on offense for the second day in a row by scoring six total goals. Freshman Garrat Johnson scored a goal in each game, the first goals of his career. Continuing their tremendous play in the cage, goalkeepers John Nash and Matt Pritchett had 11 and 16 blocks, respectively, while Casidhe McClone and Chase Schaaf were great as the two-meter defenders.

"I thought we came out strong on defense against UCSB," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur. "They were able to build a lead on us but for facing the No. 5 team in the country I thought we did a very good job. There are areas where we still need to improve but I thought this game was a good starting point for us."

Taking on No. 5 UCSB, the Broncos were down 2-1 midway through the second quarter before the Gauchos were able to pull away. The score moved to 5-1 at halftime and was 9-2 through three quarters. Santa Clara fought hard and put up five goals in the fourth quarter but it wasn't enough as UCSB won 13-7.

Carlson scored three goals and Evan Chang, Johnson, Stephen Bilz and James Rude each had one goal. Theo Nasser had four earned ejections and Schaaf had two assists. Nash picked up six blocks in the first half and Pritchett had six in the second half.

"Redlands is a very good conference opponent for us to play," added Wilbur. "To be able to go into their place a get a win was really good for us. I thought we played better in each game this weekend which is a good sign for such a young team. This is a fun group to coach because they show they want to get better."

Santa Clara bounced back in the second game of the day vs. WWPA opponent Redlands. The score was tied 2-2 after the first quarter but the Broncos would put up three goals each in the next three quarters to seal the 11-6 win.

Carlson scored three more games in the finale and Jimmy Moore scored twice. Johnson, Nasser, McClone, Schaaf, Bilz and Chang rounded out the Bronco scoring while C.J. D'Arienzo collected two assists to go along with two steals. Nasser had two more earned ejections and Chang had two assists to go along with an earned ejection. Johnson added two assists and two earned ejections as well. The terrific goalie play continued as Nash collected five blocks and Pritchett had 10.

SCU    0 1 1 5 7
UCSB 1 4 4 4 13
Goals: Carlson 3, Chang, Johnson, Bilz, Rude
Blocks: Nash 6, Pritchett 6 

SCU 2 3 3 3 11
RED 2 1 2 1 6
Goals: Carlson 3, Moore 2, Johnson, Nasser, McClone, Schaaf, Bilz, Chang
Blocks: Nash 5, Pritchett 10