SANTA CLARA, Calif. -After adding three wins and two conference wins in Davis last weekend, the No. 17 Santa Clara Men's Water Polo team will travel to Santa Barbara this weekend for the annual SoCal Tournament. All 16 teams in the field are featured in the latest ACWPC Rankings. Santa Clara will open with No. 2 UCLA on Sept. 29 at 8:00 a.m. at Santa Barbara. Following SCU's first round game, the Broncos will matchup with either Pepperdine or Loyola Marymount depending on their result.
The Bruins are coming off of second place finish at the NorCal tournament two weekends ago and will be a tough test for a young Bronco squad, but head coach Keith Wilbur is more focused on setting a positive tone for the tournament in the opening game.
"UCLA is ranked second in the country and if we come in with the right attitude and approach we can benefit from playing a team like this," said Wilbur. "I don't think we did this against Stanford two weeks ago, so this is another opportunity to get better. We are going to set goals for this game that are less focused on the score, and more focused on how we play all phases of the game in the pool."
After Saturday's games, the Broncos will play two games on Spet. 30 at either UC Santa Barbara or Dos Pueblos High School. Location is dependent on Saturday's results.
Last weekend, Santa Clara finished 3-1 at the Aggie Shootout in Davis. The Broncos posted three wins including an impressive 12-4 win over a tough Claremont-Mudd-Scrips team. Wilbur felt their were plenty of positives to take away from the weekend.
"There were several positives from this past weekend at Davis," said Wilbur. "I think our game against Claremont was our best game of the season, and I think it was good for this young team to see how well they can play when they are totally focused and give it their maximum effort. I also saw that our team has the ability to rebound from a tough loss, and that is a very important quality to have because things can spiral downward quickly without it. Finally, there were times when I asked certain players to play different roles or positions, and they did well in these situations. Having the ability to do this will give us some more versatility in future games."
2012 has been a season of breakout performances for multiple Broncos so far. Kyle Nadel had one of his finest weekends as a Bronco, cashing in eight goals in only four games. Nadel now has 13 goals on the year, a career high as a Bronco. Tucker Carlson continues to lead the Broncos in goal scoring, now registering 24 for the season. Carlson only needs two more goals to tie his career-high of 26 which he set in 2010 during his freshman campaign. Jimmy Moore has continued his career year, tying his career-high of 17 goals in a season. John Nash and Matt Pritchett have totaled career-highs in saves as they have totaled 74 and 67 blocks respectively.
During the Claremont-Mudd-Scrips game the Broncos saw a pair of firsts for redshirt freshman. Chris Nichols registered his first career goal on a cross cage shot on a man advantage while Larry Andrews saw his first action in the cage. Andrews held the Stags scoreless for the final four minutes of action.
Check back to SantaClaraBroncos.com for results of this weekends action