March 12, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Coming off two weeks of strong play, the Santa Clara women's water polo team broke into the top-20 national rankings for the first time since the first week of the season. The No. 20 Broncos, 9-9 overall, 5-1 WWPA, who have been on the road for their last seven games, will host three opponents at the Sullivan Aquatic Center this weekend. Led by this week's WWPA Player of the Week Claire Linney, SCU will open up the three-day home stand with No. 3 UCLA on Friday, March 13, at 4 p.m. The following day, Santa Clara will take on conference rival CS Monterey Bay at noon and close out play on Sunday versus Maryland at 4 p.m.
Last Time Out
The Broncos enter this weekend after a defeating then No. 17 Cal State Bakersfield in a thrilling sudden death overtime game, 10-9. WWPA Player of the Week Claire Linney scored the tying goal with 11 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. After two scoreless overtime periods, junior Meg Zimmerman scored the game-winning goal to give Santa Clara their fifth conference win of the season. The Broncos are now 1-1 this season versus the Roadrunners.
In their second game of the day, SCU could not outplay the then No. 11 Aggies of UC Davis. After coming back from a 5-0 deficit, Santa Clara could not garner enough offensive prowess to post a second come from behind win. They fell 11-6 to Davis.
Linney Named WWPA Player of the Week
Senior tri-captain Claire Linney was named the WWPA Player of the Week, it was announced Wednesday. It is the Santa Cruz, Calif. native's first career honor and she is the first Bronco to earn the accolade this season. At the Aggie Shootout at UC Davis, Linney scored with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime versus Cal State Bakersfield on March 6. Santa Clara defeated the Roadrunners in a sudden death third overtime period. She tallied four steals, three kick outs and two goals versus Bakersfield and Davis at the Aggie Shootout.
This season the 2-meter defender has tallied 29 kick outs, 19 goals, 19 steals, four assists and four 5-meter penalties. Playing in a defensive position, she has been a force both on offense and defense this season. She has also epitomized the meaning of a team player, as she stepped up and played in the cage in three games this season when goalie Wren White went down due to injury. She posted eight blocks, a steal and an assist in the cage.
Scouting No. 3 UCLA
The Bruins travel to the Northern California after hosting UC Irvine on Thursday. Going into their UCI contest, UCLA, 15-3 overall, 4-0 MPSF, had won their last five straight games. Led by goal scoring tandem of Tanya Gandy, who post 44 goals, and Katie Rulon, who's scored 36 times this season, the Southern California squad is outscoring opponents 217-99. Goalie Brittany Fullen has played in 16 games this season and posts 139 blocks. The 2008 National Champions have been ranked in the top-5 all season.
Scouting CS Monterey Bay
The Broncos will take on Cal State Monterey Bay for the second time this season. In their first meeting, Santa Clara defeated the Otters 11-6 at the Slugfest Tournament on February 28. CSUMB, 7-19 overall, 3-6 WWPA, is in last place in the conference this week with .240 winning percentage. The Otters enter this weekend with a two-game winning streak. Monterey Bay is led by sophomore utility Nikki Smart, who scored 14 goals in six games at the Cal Lutheran Spring Classic.
The Maryland Terrapins travel the West Coast for four-games this weekend. On Thursday they will play UC Davis and California, before facing SCU for the second time this season. In their first meeting, Santa Clara edged the Terps 13-12 in overtime at the Triton Tournament. UM, 6-4 overall, 2-0 CWPA South, have fallen in their last two contests prior to heading out west. They are led by Shannon Simerly, who in 14 games has tallied 17 steals, 11 goals, six kick outs and five assists. In the cage, Ashleigh Jobson posts 103 blocks, 18 steals, three kick outs and two assists in 13 games.