September 14, 2012

Water Polo To Play at Stanford in NorCals This Weekend

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Coming off a 3-1 start at last weekends Inland Empire Tournament in Redlands, Calif., the Santa Clara Men's Water Polo (3-1; 3-0 WWPA) team heads to Stanford for the prestigious NorCal Tournament. The Broncos find themselves at No. 14 in the latest CWPA Top 20 poll and head coach Keith Wilbur sees this weekend as a great opportunity to play some of the top teams in the country.

"The NorCal tournament is a 16-team tournament and almost every team there is ranked in the top-20," said Wilbur. "It is a fun environment for water polo where there are two courses going throughout the day, and every match-up is a great game. We are going to see some high level competition throughout the weekend and it will be a great
opportunity to improve every game we play."

The Broncos will open the first round with host No. 4 Stanford at 10:50 a.m. Saturday. The Cardinal have not played an official contest this season, instead spending a weekend scrimmaging multiple teams at the Irvine Invitational. However, Stanford will be one of the toughest tests for Santa Clara this season. Wilbur has emphasized this in practice, preaching good fundamentals on offense and defense.

"Stanford is one of the top team in the country and the first step to competing with a team of that caliber is to minimize mistakes," said Wilbur. "They will immediately capitalize on things like turnovers or blown assignments on defense. We will emphasize ball control on offense, anticipation on counter attacks and good communication on defense."

The Broncos are coming off a good performance last weekend in Southern California where they collected three conference wins to kick off their season. The Broncos got a stellar weekend from junior Tucker Carlson who cashed in on 13 goals on his way to earning WWPA Co-Player of the Week honors. Redshirt junior Jimmy Moore found the back of the net six times, while redshirt sophomore Matt Kochalko, redshirt sophomore Kyle Nadel, redshirt freshman Stephen Bilz and freshman James Rude each tallied four goals. Splitting halves between the pipes, John Nash and Matt Pritchett played well; combining to make 56 saves in four games.

"I thought we played progressively better throughout the weekend and that is very important with all the youth on our team," said Wilbur "With each game, we were able to gain some experience, and when we played well, we also started to gain more confidence. Those are two qualities that we will be looking to build upon throughout the season."

Check back to SantaClaraBroncos.com or the NorCal Tournament results page for the latest updates from this weekend.