SANTA CLARA, Calif.- The Broncos men's water polo team is kicking off their season on Saturday on a high note as they face off at Bay Area Rival the University of Pacific (UOP), ranked fifth in the country.
"UOP is ranked No. 5 in the country for a reason," said Bronco head coach Keith Wilbur. "They are excellent at every position, and they will have a very strong team this year. Our team came into preseason in good shape, and they have been working very hard the past two weeks. It is early in the season, and we still have lots to work on, but we look forward to playing a team of the caliber of UOP in our first game. It will give us a good sense of where we are and what we need to work on.
The Broncos return four starters this season, who come back with a combined total of 116 goals during the 2012 season. Patrick Weiss, who redshirted last year, will also rejoin the team in the pool this season.
After loosing two seniors last season, the Broncos add seven new players this season. This will be the debut game for those new guys.
Pacific is notorious for recruiting some of the best foreign players. Six of their returning seniors this year are from overseas, including their 2012 season leader scorer Balazs Erdelyi from Hungary and starting goalie Alex Malkis from Israel, who recorded 273 saves. Pacific competes in the always-competitive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, which features Southern Cal, who has won first straight national titles.
After this Saturday's game, the Broncos will travel to the Princeton Tournament in New Jersey where they will play four games in two days. Looking a bit down the road, the Broncos host their home opener on Oct. 20 against UCLA at 12 p.m. followed by West Valley at 4 p.m.