April 17, 2010

Santa Clara's Offense Sparks 14-8 defeat of Cal State East Bay

April 17, 2010

The Broncos exploded to defeat the Cal State East Bay Pioneers 14-8 at the Sullivan Aquatic Center on Saturday afternoon. Santa Clara avenged their two loses to the Pioneers in their previous meetings earlier in the season. The back and forth game was the second to last game of the regular season for Santa Clara.

"This was one of our best games in terms of being confident and aggressive with our shots," said Head Coach Keith Wilbur. "Our defense stepped up and we got stops on five on six defense. We focused our intensity on playing hard the entire game and not letting up."

Senior Jenny Knutson led to the Broncos with four goals and Meg Zimmerman, Laura Espinosa and Marina Allen added two goals to lead Santa Clara's attack.

"We were more confident in our shots than we were in the last two meetings," said Zimmerman. "We spent a lot of time in practice focusing on that, and it worked well for us today. Also, we converted on our 6 on 5s and we stopped them on our 5 on 6 defense."

The offenses for both teams exploded in the first quarter. The Broncos opened up the scoring on their first possession of the game as Zimmerman scored from two-meters.

Cal State East Bay responded 28 seconds later with a goal from Jenna Casady to tie the score at 1-1. The back and fourth scoring was a theme throughout the first quarter as both teams were explosive on offense.

The Broncos took their biggest lead of the quarter at 5-2 when Espinosa earned a 5-meter penalty shot after turning her defender in set and Knutson converted the penalty shot with 2:32 left in the first period.

The Pioneers responded with back to back goals, the second of which came on a 5-meter penalty shot with 27 seconds left in the first quarter, to trim the Bronco's lead to 5-4.

But the Bronco's defense, lead by Wren White in the cage, stifled the Pioneers attack for the rest of the game. White finished with eight saves on the day.

The second quarter was much of the same for the Bronco's offense as they scored three unanswered goals from Caitlin Espe, Knutson, and Espinosa to put the Broncos in the lead 8-4 with 4:00 remaining in the quarter.

Espinosa continued her dominance inside as she scored with four seconds left in the quarter and the Broncos pushed their lead to 9-5 at the half.

Santa Clara started off right where they left off as Knutson opened up the second half with a goal as the shot clock was expiring on the Bronco's first possession. East Bay ended their scoring drought of almost five minutes as Lauren Griffin scored on another penalty shot for the Pioneers and they cut the lead to 10-6 with 4:51 remaining in the quarter.

After getting blocked on two penalty shot attempts, Knutson converted on a 6 on 5 and Allen's breakaway goal put the Broncos comfortably in front 12-6.

Alison Norris and Zimmerman scored two unanswered goals with 7:38 and 2:49 remaining in the fourth to extend the Bronco's lead to 14-7.

Tomorrow the Broncos (now 15-13) will face No. 10 Cal State Northridge at the Sullivan Aquatic Center at 12 PM. This is the final game of the 2010 regular season for Santa Clara and also the final career home games for seniors Rochelle Stowe, Zimmerman and Knutson.