Conference Opener Awaits SCU Water Polo in Monterey

Video preview with interviews and photos
Action photos from last weekend's SJSU Invite

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University Bronco women's water polo team opens up conference play with a Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) game at Cal State University Monterey Bay on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m.

SCU head women's water polo coach Keith Wilbur liked the energy level of his young team last weekend at the San Jose State Spartan Invite. The Broncos faced four nationally ranked teams in succession during the two-day tournament in San Jose.

"With a lot of new players, the team knows that our goal is to improve as much as possible over the course of the season," said Wilbur. "Last weekend, they played hard in every game and showed me that they can get up and down the pool with some really good teams.  They also did not let losses get them down, and they stay focused on getting better and learning from every game they played.  If we keep that approach over the course of the season, I really think it will pay off at the end of the year."

The game this weekend versus Monterey is important, as it initiates the team's WWPA schedule. SCU will also play a non-conference match with Fresno Pacific Saturday at 1 p.m.

The WWPA was created in 2001 and currently has nine teams. The league is well respected nationally, with four or five schools each year garnering a top 20 ranking. Santa Clara's best finish in the WWPA was in 2009, finishing second in the conference tournament.  In 2006, the Broncos finished third, and have historically been among the top four.

"There is a lot of parity in our conference, so every game offers good competition," said Wilbur. "This year, I would say LMU (ranked No. 6 nationally) and UC San Diego (No. 18) are probably the two toughest teams to play."

Last week in losses to No. 9 SJSU, No. 19 Pacific, No. 3 Cal and No. 13 UC Davis, senior Taylor Harkins (pictured) led the Broncos with seven goals.