May 16, 2002
The Santa Clara University women's water polo team recently completed its season, posting a 21-15 record, marking the most victories in the program's four-year varsity history. Under head coach Steve Hanson, the Broncos also placed fourth in the Women's Western Water Polo Association Championships, the team's highest finish. A few season highlights:
Junior Becky Hong was named to the All-Tournament second team at the WWWPA Championships. She recorded four goals and seven steals to lead the team on the weekend, including the Broncos' lone goal against LMU in the semifinals. Overall, she has overpowered some of the top defensive lines to finish second on the team with 56 goals. She posted two four-goal matches-- against then-ranked No. 10 UC Davis and No. 5 UC Santa Cruz. Hong also had impressive matches against ranked opponents Notre Dame, La Verne and Pomona-Pitzer, scoring three goals in each game.
The Santa Clara earned its highest finish ever at the Women's Western Water Polo Association Championships. The Broncos entered as the tournament's fifth seed, but finished one higher and placed first among non-scholarship programs at the tournament. "Our team never backed down... it's been their MO all season long; they just don't quit," Santa Clara head coach Steve Hanson said after the team's 15-4 loss to UC Davis in the third-place match. Santa Clara defeated CS Bakersfield 9-8 to open the Championship. Down 8-7 heading into the final period, the Broncos earned their first win over the Roadrunners in four tries this season. The victory also secured the Broncos' highest finish in the Championship, as the team could finish no lower than fourth, topping last season's fifth-place result. (Santa Clara competed on the Division III level its first two varsity seasons.) The team fell to top-seeded Loyola Marymount 15-1 in a semifinal match.
The Broncos' 9-8 victory over CS Bakersfield in the opening round of the WWWPAs was a microcosm of the Broncos' season. Of the team's 21 wins, 19 were secured when SCU reached the nine-goal plateau.
Santa Clara faced a demanding schedule this season, with 18 of its 36 matches against ranked opposition. Although the Broncos were winless in seven tries against Division I ranked squads, the team did post a perfect 6-0 mark against Division III teams that were listed in the national polls. Against ranked club teams, SCU went 4-0.
Junior Kelley Mays led the Broncos in scoring this season, posting 67 goals. Junior teammates Elizabeth Glotzbach and Becky Hong were right behind her with 56 goals apiece. As a team, Santa Clara recorded 307 scores, four more than its opponents did throughout the course of the year.
Juniors Becky Hong and Carly Carpenter led the Broncos defensively, with 80 and 76 steals, respectively. As a team, the Broncos recorded 379 steals in 2002, marking the fourth straight year the team has reached the 200-steal milestone.
Sophomore Anne Ginotti guarded the net for the majority of the season, notching 220 saves, 79 steals and a 7.97 goals against average, facing more than 500 shots.
The Broncos say goodbye to Sara Schmitt, the only senior on this year's squad. The driver has seen the Bronco program expand from a club team through its emergence to the Division I level. Schmitt was named an Academic All-American as a freshman and helped lead the team to a fifth-place finish at the Division III National Championship as a sophomore. As a junior, she scored 15 goals and provided invaluable leadership this past season. She finishes her Division I career with 31 goals, 24 assists and 33 steals. Additionally she started every contest in her final year. Schmitt is set to graduate in June with a degree in psychology, and will return to Portland, Ore., nearby her hometown of Beaverton, to pursue a master's in teaching at Lewis & Clark College.