March 8, 2006

Busy Day Ahead for Women's Water Polo

March 8, 2006

Santa Clara, Calif. - After last Saturday's disappointing loss to No. 14 UC Davis, the Santa Clara women's water polo team doesn't have time to get down on themselves, as they will face stiff competition in Redlands, Marist, and No. 10 UC Santa Barbara at this weekend's UC Santa Barbara Tournament.  All three games will be played on Saturday and the whistle is set to blow at 9:15 a.m., noon, and 3:30 p.m., respectively.

"Davis was a tough loss, but we are not going to dwell on it. There are areas we need to improve upon from the Davis game, and we are focusing on those things this week in practice," stated head coach Keith Wilbur, whose team is currently 9-5 on the year. "Having quality games this weekend at Santa Barbara is good for us because it gives us a chance to get right back into it."

Redlands is paced by the reigning NCAA Division III Player of the Year in Alie Hower and senior All-American Meghan Rosenberger. The Bulldogs enter Saturday's contest sporting an overall record of 1-6, with its most recent match being a 12-10 loss at the hands of Cal State Bakersfield. Juniors Kelly Stein, Amanda Woodard, Kelly Phillips, and Caitlin O'Dell have all played big roles for Redlands this year and will provide depth on the offensive and defensive ends. Head coach Tom Whittemore has been at the helm of the women's water polo program for Redlands since 1988 and was named the 2005 NCAA Division III Coach of the Year after guiding his team to a berth into the expanded NCAA Championships, the first Division III school to do so.

"Redlands is a really well coached team. I think our speed was a big advantage the first time we played them, so I think they will try to slow down the game and make it more of a half court contest. We are going to try and keep it up tempo.

Marist is currently 8-4 on the year after going 3-1 last weekend, with victories coming against Carthage, Harvard, and Utica against a loss to No. 17 Hartwick. The Red Foxes were bestowed with a bevy of honors this week, as freshman Kari Weston was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week, while sophomore Elizabeth Davis was tabbed the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week. Andrew Silva is in his second year as head coach of the Marist women's water polo program and carries a 21-24 overall record.

"I am not sure what to expect from Marist. They are a relatively new program in the East, but just from seeing some of their scores, they have gotten good really quickly. We are going to expect a good game, and we will be ready to make adjustments based on what happens in the first quarter."

UC Santa Barbara (8-9) returns four All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selections in Katy Kunkel, ZiZi Clark, Christy Medigovich and Alaina Whitaker for the 2006 season. This year, the Gauchos are lead on offense by Jen D'Anna and Whitaker, with 27 and 17 goals, respectively. In the cage, Brittany May and Rosery Redaelli have done an excellent job keeping the other teams at bay, as they have combined for 77 blocks. Danielle Altman is in her fourth season as the head coach of the Gauchos, leading them to a 17-12 record in 2005.

"Santa Barbara is a very good team. They are currently ranked No. 10, and more than anything, we will expect them to be really physical," noted Wilbur. "This will be a good opportunity for us to see if we learned and improved upon some things from playing Davis because it will probably be a similar type of game."