April 24, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - In the quarterfinal round of the Western Water Polo Association Conference Championship, the No. 3 seeded Santa Clara women's water polo team posted an 8-5 victory over a tough and fighting No. 6 seeded Colorado State squad. Behind sophomore goalie Wren White, who tallied a season-high 16 blocks, SCU will advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament.
"I am happy that we were able to come away with a win this afternoon," said head coach Keith Wilbur. "Colorado is a strong team and played really well. Behind Wren and Meg (Zimmerman) we were able to get the point advantage and advance in the championship."
Colorado State came into their second contest of the day with the momentum of their 14-9 win over Chapman in the first round. The Rams won the sprint and took off with an immediate 1-0 lead to begin the game. Junior Meg Zimmerman responded instantaneously with a goal that she slammed through the far post. With the game at one-all, CSU came back with two go ahead goals, to take a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Santa Clara offensive standout, Zimmerman kicked off scoring in the second period, with a goal at 6:18, to bring the game to within one. The Bronco junior was tightly covered two feet outside of the cage when she received the ball. The San Mateo, Calif. native was able to hold off her defender and chip the ball into the cage. With two seconds left in the quarter, the Santa Clara 2-meter scored her third goal of the game to tie the game for the second time at three-all.
Colorado State regained the lead with a 4-3 go ahead goal to kick off the third period. Senior captain Claire Linney tied the game less than a minute later. The Santa Cruz, Calif. native slammed a ball past the CSU's goalie Krystyna McWright. With less than two minutes remaining in the quarter, sophomore Taylor Harkins drilled a bouncing ball past the diving McWright. Less than 30 seconds later Kendal Hildebrand tacked on her first goal, to take a 6-4 Bronco lead.
At 5:49 in the final period of play, freshman standout Marina Allen banged in a goal and Harkins followed with the final Santa Clara goal of the game. The Rams' scored a fifth and final goal with 41 seconds left in the game, but it was not enough to upset the Broncos.
After beginning the game sluggish and down, Santa Clara picked up their pace of play and remained dominate on all ends of the ball. White managed the SCU defense and kept the team composed after allowing CSU to go on a 3-1 run in the first.
"My teammates helped me block a lot of Colorado's shots," said White. "I didn't think about being down at the beginning of the game, I only thought about my next block and keeping the team focused to win the game."
Santa Clara will take on the winner of CS Bakersfield versus UC Santa Cruz in the first semifinal game on Saturday, April 25, at 1 p.m. Fans to keep updated on all WWPA Conference Championship action log onto http://www.santaclarabroncos.com/sports/w-wpolo/spec-rel/09-sacl-wwpolo-championships.html.