April 18, 2009

No. 20 SCU Closes Out 2009 with 9-3 Victory Over UCSC

April 18, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - In their final home contest before the WWPA Conference Championship, the No. 20 Santa Clara women's water polo team blazed by conference rival UC Santa Cruz Saturday afternoon at the Sullivan Aquatic Center with a 9-3 victory.

After celebrating Senior Day prior to the game, the Broncos took an immediately 2-0 lead off of goals from Meg Zimmerman and a 5-meter goal by Amy Lamb. Santa Cruz responded minutes later with a lone goal and bring the game within in one. To kick off scoring in the second quarter, Jenny Knutson completed SCU's second straight 5-meter, to take a 3-1 Santa Clara lead. Senior Claire Linney followed with spectacular shot to beat the buzzer on the shot clock. Linney received a pass with her back to the goal and a defender putting pressure on her, in one swift movement the Santa Cruz, Calif. native twisted around and slammed the ball into the lower corner past the Banana Slugs goalie.

In the third, Am. Lamb scored her second goal, only for UCSC to respond with a second Banana Slug goal. The Broncos did not wait long to extend their lead to 6-2, when sophomore Taylor Harkins blazed in a ball past the diving Santa Cruz goalie. With two minutes left in the period, Am. Lamb fired a ball into the cage from seven meters out, for her third goal of the game.

Rochelle Stowe, in the fourth quarter, scored her first goal of the game with a behind-the-back shot into the lower post. After a 2-0 Bronco run, the Slugs got on the board for the third time in the final period of regulation. With less than three minutes remaining in the game, senior Kendal Hildebrand tallied SCU's ninth goal of the game and solidify the Broncos' tenth conference win of the season.

Aside from a solid offensive afternoon, the Bronco defense did not let up versus an aggressive Santa Cruz team. Goalie Wren White tallied 11 blocks, and Laura Espinosa, Harkins, Linney, Kirstin Olson and Stowe each had a steal. Hildebrand led the team with two steals and Al. Lamb tallied a field block in the game.

"We played solid defensive throughout the game and Wren had a great outing," said head coach Keith Wilbur. "We matched UCSC's physicality and Amy had big goals in the third to create a buffer going into the fourth."

"Today was an overall great day. The seniors played will on Senior Day, as did everyone," concluded Wilbur.

With the 2009 season concluded, the Broncos (17-15, 10-3 WWPA) will prepare for the conference tournament from April 24-26. For the first time in Santa Clara water polo history, SCU will host the WWPA Championship at the new Sullivan Aquatic Center.

No. 20 Santa Clara, UC Santa Cruz 3

Goals: Stowe - 1, Am. Lamb - 3, Knutson - 1, Zimmerman - 1, Hildebrand - 1, Linney - 1, Harkins - 1
Assists: Al. Lamb - 3, Am. Lamb - 2, Knutson - 1, Harkins - 1
Steals: Stowe - 1, Espinosa - 1, Hildebrand - 2, Linney - 1, Harkins - 1, Olson - 1
Kick Outs Drawn: Stowe - 1, Espinosa - 1, Linney - 1, Harkins - 1
5-Meter Penalties: Am. Lamb - 1, Linney - 1, Harkins - 1
Blocks: White - 11