Gauchos Spoil Bronco Home-Opener

Jan. 28, 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -

The No. 19 Santa Clara women's water polo team lost a heartbreaker in its season opener, falling 6-5 in sudden death overtime to No. 15 UC Santa Barbara.

The Gauchos took a 1-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and retained it through the half, leading the Broncos 2-1 at the half. Sophomore Sarah Safir scored the first Santa Clara goal of the season in the second half, breaking a tough, goal-less first quarter.

The Broncos rallied in the third to score two goals and knot the game at three-all and a goal-less final quarter sent the game into overtime.

Both sides scored in the first three-minute overtime period, but failed to score in the second, sending the game into sudden death. The Gauchos scored in the golden goal situation sealing their third victory of the year.

Along with Safir, Taylor Harkins scored twice, while Jade Look and Caitlin Espe also tallied for the Broncos. Junior goalie Wren White recorded 16 saves in the cage.

"It was definitely a defensive battle," said head coach Keith Wilbur. "It's early in the season so to have some solid defense is great. It will help build the foundation for our offense. I was pleased with the effort and really proud of my girls. Wren played great in goal and Sarah gave us a real lift. Rochelle Stowe and Sarah did well for us at two-meter defense. Caitlin [Espe] had four steals and Meg [Zimmerman] had two kick-outs drawn."

Santa Clara will head into the Nor-Cal Cup this weekend in Berkeley, taking on San Jose State in its first match at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

SANTA CLARA 5, UC SANTA BARBARA 6 (3OT)