SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Coming off a weekend in which the No. 19 Santa Clara Men's Water polo team hosted the Rodeo Tournament and collected two wins over in-state opponents Cal Baptist and Fresno Pacific, the Broncos will host No. 11 Loyola Marymount on Sat., Oct. 27 at 1:00 p.m. at the Sullivan Aquatic Center. Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur felt his team, which enters the contest on Saturday with a 9-13 record, 6-6 in WWPA action, improved over the course of last weekend.
"After the four games at the Rodeo, I thought our team got better more so than any other weekend this season," said Wilbur. "The competition was good and the games were physical. We were in every game and we came out on top in two of them. Figuring out what it takes to win those types of games is a big step in the right direction for us."
Saturday will mark the second time the Broncos have seen the Lions this season. In the first meeting at the SoCal Tournament in Santa Barbara, the Broncos fell behind 10-4 at half and ultimately lost 16-9. Wilbur has emphasized to his team there must be improvements this time around.
"LMU is an excellent team, so we will have to play well in all phases of the game and really limit our mistakes because they will jump all over them," said Wilbur. "In particular, we need to stop their counter attack, play solid defense, push our counter attack and then get good movement in the half court offense, and we need to match their physicality. It also always helps to do better in power play opportunities no matter who you are playing."
This past weekend, the Broncos were led by an all-around scoring attack offensively. Theo Nasser tallied seven goals and Kyle Nadel scored five. However, it was Nadel's outstanding defense that showed. Nadel snagged a career-high seven steals in the win over Cal Baptist while collecting a total of 10 for the weekend.
"He is quick and has great game awareness, so he can anticipate a play before it happens and he has the athleticism to make a play," said Wilbur. "He played great defense all weekend, and one of his steals clinched the 7-6 win over Cal Baptist."