March 23, 2010
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's water polo team will play its final five road matches of the season this week, starting with a Wednesday tilt against Sonoma State at 3 p.m. before traveling to Tempe, Ariz. for the Arizona State Invitational.
Junior Taylor Harkins leads the offense with 31 goals while senior Jenny Knutston has 29. Knutson leads the team in assists with 31, while senior Rochelle Stowe has 20. Junior goalie Wren White has saved 50% of the shots she has faced.
The Seawolves and Broncos met early in the season with Santa Clara taking an 8-1 decision at the Nor-Cal Invitational. Since then, Sonoma State has struggled to a 3-18 overall record this season and is in the midst of a three-game losing streak while at the bottom of the WWPA standings. Laurel Stricklin is the team's leading scorer with 45 goals and Holly Armijo follows with 24. Goalie Gina Uliana has started every game and has conceded 290 goals on 467 shots.
The Broncos will face familiar foes on the first day of the ASU Invitational, playing Concordia at 10 a.m. and California Baptist at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 27. Day two of the ASU Invite will prove to be a tough test for Santa Clara, as they will take on host No. 6 Arizona State at 9 a.m. and No. 5 Hawai'i at 1:30 p.m.
Cal Baptist is 16-10 on the year with two of those losses suffered at the hands of the Broncos. The last time the two teams met was in the Rodeo Tournament, where Santa Clara edged the Lancers 13-12 in overtime. CBU has had recent success over East Coast teams, defeating Maryland, 13-7, and George Washington, 16-7, in their own tournament while barely losing to Long Beach State, 7-6. Jennifer Grutz is by far the team's leading scorer with 55 goals. Camryn Rogers has seen the most time in the cage, making 146 saves this season.
Concordia is 11-7 overall and lost to the Broncos, 18-11 earlier this year at the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunner Invitational. Last weekend, the Eagles went 2-2 at the CBU Lancer Invitational, beating Azusa Pacific and Occidental College, while falling to Long Beach State and Maryland.
The Sun Devils (12-8) have fallen to many of the top women's water polo teams, including two losses each at the hands of Stanford, UCLA, and Hawai'i, but assured their place in the top-10 with a one-goal victory San Jose State on March 20. ASU rolled over many of the smaller schools at the CBU Invite, going 5-0 and outscoring its opponents 75-21.
The Rainbow Wahine are 9-6 overall but are not far off from the top having suffered one-goal losses to UCLA, California, while also beating the Bruins on March 6, 9-8, in overtime. Hawai'i has won four of their last six games and will play two matches in San Diego before moving to Arizona for the tournament. The Rainbow Wahine have balanced scoring as Leonie Van Der Molen and Monkia Eggens have 28 goals each, Carmen Eggens is close behind with 25. Goalie Serena Bredin is the clear starter and has a 5.67 goals-against-average.
Following this final road trip, Santa Clara will host The Bronco Tournament from April 10-11 and play two final matches at home on April 17 vs. Cal State East Bay and on April 18 against Cal State Northridge. The Western Water Polo Association Championships begin April 30 at Cal State Bakersfield.