SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off a weekend in which two top-10 teams came to the Mission campus, No. 19 Santa Clara men's water polo will travel to No. 6 Cal on Sat., Nov. 10 at 12 p.m. before hosting No. 16 UC Davis on Sun., Nov. 11 at 12 p.m. at the Sullivan Aquatic Center on Senior Day.
Santa Clara enters the weekend with a 9-16 record overall and a 6-7 mark in the WWPA. Tucker Carlson leads the team with 45 goals scored while also adding eight assists. Jimmy Moore is second in goals with 31 and leads the team with 20 assists. Kyle Nadel paces the Broncos with 33 steals while Theo Nasser has an impressive 50 earned ejections to lead the team. Between the pipes John Nash has made 149 saves while Matt Pritchett has 144.
Despite losing both games vs. top-10 teams last weekend, Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur saw many positives for his young Bronco team over the weekend.
"UCSD is going to be the top seed in our conference and I thought we gave them a good battle throughout the game," said Wilbur. "We had it within two goals half through the fourth quarter which is much better than where we were at the beginning of the season and it gives us even more incentive to keep improving in these final two weeks leading up to conference championships. Stanford is one of the top teams in the country and I thought we were able to do some good things in the first half. However, the second half was disappointing, and hopefully a lesson was learned by the team in that they have to play all out every second of every game, no matter what the circumstances. "
With the regular season coming to a close, Santa Clara still has a lot to accomplish to get ready for the WWPA's. The Broncos also want to secure a big win over a top-20 team.
"Cal is a similar opponent to Stanford in that they are one of the top teams in the country," continued Wilbur. "I would like to see our team play it's best in all four quarters of that game. Whether or not it shows on the scoreboard, we will know how we played in terms of defense, counters, ball control and most importantly our effort level throughout the game. UC Davis is a great rivalry and the game against them will be our senior day. We are also ranked close in conference, so it should be a good match up. I am looking for our team to play well and find what it takes to win a tough game down the stretch when a lot of emotion is involved."
With Senior Day on Sunday, Wilbur knows how important his seniors have been on such a young team.
"Even though it is a small class, John and C.J. are two seniors that mean a lot to this program," said Wilbur. "They have all the qualities a coach looks for in players in terms of a great work ethics, total dedication to the team and the desire to always get better and contribute. They are great role models for the younger guys on the team, and I really appreciate everything they have done for our program."