SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A weekend after playing in the NorCal Tournament, the No. 14 Santa Clara men's water polo team (4-4 overall, 4-2 WWPA) travels to UC Davis for four games in less than 36 hours. The Broncos will open up with Cal Lutheran Saturday morning followed by a game with WWPA foe Claremont-McKenna. On Sunday, the Broncos will take on La Verne before a rematch against Chapman University who Santa Clara came from behind to defeat 14-12 two weekends ago at the Inland Empire Tournament.
"We are playing three more conference games this weekend, and each one is very important," said head coach Keith Wilbur. "This will be the only time we see Claremont and La Verne, and the last time we see Chapman, so every game will affect our standings in the conference before playoffs. We are coming off some very good competition from last weekend, so we would like to build off that level of play and carry it through the weekend."
The Broncos got outstanding play from a couple of older Broncos. Redshirt-junior Theo Nasser played well at two meters, earning 12 ejections on the weekend. Senior C.J. D'Arienzo scored a career-high four goals in the Broncos two goal loss to WWPA rival Air Force while redshirt senior Jimmy Moore also cashed in a career-high four goals in the win over Pomona-Pitzer. Moore's 12 goals on the season currently ranks him second on the team. Every season, Wilbur has season a huge jump in Moore's play while on the Mission Campus.
"When Jimmy came to Santa Clara, he had a very good shot, but he needed to develop other parts of his game to play at the college level," said Wilbur. "Every year, he has gotten faster on swim sets, stronger in the weight room and smarter in the pool. He has put in the work and raised the level of his game each year, and consequently his role on the team has grown each year as well. Now, as a red shirt junior, he is starting, scoring in clutch situations and playing very good water polo. With so many young players on the team this year, having an experienced player like Jimmy has been extremely important for us this season. He has been doing a great job."
Aside from Chapman, the Broncos will be seeing Cal Lutheran, La Verne and Claremont McKenna for the first and only time during the regular season. In Santa Clara's previous game against Chapman, the Broncos were led by four goals from junior Tucker Carlson and three from redshirt sophomore Matt Kochalko. The Broncos goalkeepers played well between the pipes, collecting 17 saves between senior John Nash and redshirt sophomore Matt Pritchett.