April 15, 2010
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's water polo team will take on two in-state opponents this weekend to close out the 2010 regular season. The Broncos will face Cal State East Bay at noon on Saturday and No. 10 Cal State Northridge on Sunday, also at noon.
Junior Taylor Harkins continues to lead the offense with 55 goals. Seniors Jenny Knutson (38 goals), Meg Zimmerman (29), and Rochelle Stowe (26) also have made significant contributions on the offensive side of things. Zimmerman had a big weekend at the Bronco Tournament, scoring eight goals along with drawing six kickouts and a five-meter over four games. Junior goalie Wren White scored her first career goal this past weekend, putting the ball in on a cross-pool shot at the buzzer to end the first quarter. White has started 25 of the team's 27 games this season and has registered 179 blocks on 372 shots on goal.
Santa Clara will look to right the ship against the Pioneers, who have twice defeated the Broncos this season in close contests. In the first meeting on Jan. 31, the Broncos were up one goal heading into the final quarter but were unable to hold on to the lead, losing 13-10. The two teams also met on Feb. 14, a game in which Santa Clara also saw its lead on the Pioneers dissipate with Cal State East Bay scoring the winning goal in a 9-8 victory with 2:26 to play. The Pioneers sit second in the Western Water Polo Association, separating LMU at the top from the Broncos in third. Saturday's game could be a preview of a potential matchup between the two teams at the 2010 WWPA Championships.
Claire Pierce stands out as CSUEB's leading scorer with 72 goals, while Liz Warren has the next highest total of 57. Lauren Merrill has seen the most time in the cage and will likely start against Santa Clara.
The Broncos' game on Sunday, their last before the WWPA Championships begin on April 30, will be a tough one against the tenth-ranked Matadors. CSU Northridge is in the midst of their best season ever, setting a single season school record of 25 wins after defeating Chapman on April 11. The Matadors have also played tough against several highly-ranked opponents including UCLA, Loyola Marymount, and Arizona State, falling in those games but making each one close. The program's biggest win this season has come against UC Irvine, who it defeated, 11-9, in overtime on April 2.