April 20, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's water polo team will compete at the Women's Western Water Polo Association Championship this weekend at host Loyola Marymount's Burn Recreation and Aquatic Center in Los Angeles. The Broncos open the tournament on Friday, taking on Cal State Bakersfield at 12:30 p.m.
Tournament action continues through Sunday, and the winner will receive an automatic bid to the 2004 NCAA Championships, hosted by Stanford University, May 8-9 at the Avery Aquatic Center. Fans can follow WWWPA play online by Clicking Here.
Santa Clara enters the weekend as the tournament's fifth seed, with an 18-15 overall record and a 13-4 mark in conference play. Earlier in the season, the Broncos dropped a 10-7 decision to the Roadrunners at the Slugfest Invitational in Santa Cruz.
Head coach Keith Wilbur is in his second season with the Bronco women's program and boasts a wide-spread offense, as eight players have notched 10 or more goals. Junior Catherine Flynn leads the team with 67 tallies on the season, while freshman Katie Radvanyi is second with 51 goals, as well as a team-leading 49 steals.
The Bronco defense is just as hot, as junior Katy Shumm has 48 steals. Guarding the cage is senior Anne Ginotti. She has started 23 contests and registered 162 saves in those outings. Her goals-against average is a 7.96. Freshman Kristin Barnes has also seen significant playing time in the net, and has 114 saves in 14 games this year, with a 6.67 GAA.
Santa Clara is looking to improve on last year's fifth-place finish at the WWWPAs and might surprise a few opponents with increased speed, more talent and a deeper bench than last year. Those that saw the Broncos early in the season will be impressed with how the young players have adjusted to the college level and how team chemistry plays such a vital role to this squad's success.
This season marks the program's fourth at the Division I level. Santa Clara also placed fifth in 2001 and the program's highest finish ever came in 2002, when the Broncos earned an upset victory to place fourth.