BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's water polo team was defeated, 8-4, by host Cal State Bakersfield in the first round of the Western Water Polo Association Championship today. The fifth-seeded Broncos could not match the fourth-seeded Roadrunners as they pulled away with the game in the third quarter.
CSUB held Santa Clara's top three scorers goalless and scored on just two 6-on-5 situations, their final two goals of the game. The Broncos scored all four of their goals as a result of being a woman up on the Roadrunners.
Junior Whitney Allen opened scoring in the game, giving Santa Clara a 1-0 lead just 2:17 into the game. CSUB's Becky Seelos evened the game with 2:12 to go in the quarter, and that was the way it would stay at the end of the first eight minutes.
In the second quarter, freshman Alison Norris put the Broncos ahead 2-1 at the 6:25 mark, but the Runners even it again less than a minute later before taking the lead for good midway through the quarter. CSUB doubled their lead with just over a minute and a half to play in the half.
The Runners scored three goals after the break and Santa Clara couldn't answer until sophomore Laura Espinosa put the ball in the back of the cage with just 44 seconds left in the third quarter.
CSUB scored their eighth and final goal with 2:11 left to play. Junior Caitlin Espe scored for the Broncos with 23 seconds remaining in the game to conclude scoring.
The loss dashed any hopes of Santa Clara matching its accomplishment last year of second place in the WWPA as well as a the hope of reaching the program's first ever NCAA Tournament bid.
The Broncos, now 15-15 overall, will next face Chapman at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Hillman Aquatic Center on the campus of Cal State Bakersfield.