April 30, 2006
La Jolla, Calif. - Playing away from home, particularly in another opponent's home pool, can be a daunting task, but the No. 16 Santa Clara women's water polo team was able to withstand a hostile environment to down host UC San Diego 6-5 on the third day of the Western Water Polo Association Championships. With today's victory, the Broncos finished in third place in the WWPA, an improvement from last year's fourth-place standing and the highest finish for SCU in the league to date. After dropping yesterday's semifinal contest to UC Davis, Santa Clara (25-8) came back with an aggressive plan to upstage UC San Diego in its home pool.
Honestly, our offense was struggling the past couple of days and we sat down and came up with a good game plan. We forgot what made us so successful this season and went back to it for today's game. The team really came through," said head coach Keith Wilbur.
This is the second time this season that the Broncos beat the No. 15 Tritons. Earlier in the season, Santa Clara came out on top in overtime 12-11 at the Davis Shootout.
"We knew it was going to be tough, especially since we beat them earlier in the season," stated Wilbur. "We were prepared for a tough battle and it's nice to win a close game like that."
It was a back and forth battle all day long and no one was able to pull away with a sizeable lead. With the score tied at 5-5, Katie Radvanyi rifled the ball past the Triton goalie with only 16 ticks on the clock left in the match to secure the victory for her team. In addition to Radvanyi, Emily Bonk, Amy Lamb, and Alanna Simpkins added one goal. Andrea Evans led the way with two goals on the day. The Broncos saw another fantastic effort by goalie Kristin Barnes, who controlled defensive tempo after tallying eight blocks and one steal.
After the contest was decided, more good news came Santa Clara's way, as Wilbur was honored as the WWPA Coach of the Year. In addition, three players earned all-conference recogniation: Lindsey Bacolini was selected to the first team, Radvanyi was placed on the second team, and Barnes picked up honorable mention status.
"It is a team award. People look at how your team performs and what they did all season long. This is our highest finish ever and all the credit goes to our team," noted Wilbur on his postseason award. "To me, all the awards given to me and the players is a credit to the team. I have so many players on my squad who do a lot for us and it's just nice to have people recognized by our conference."