SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After a near two-week break, the Santa Clara University women's water polo team returns to competition Thursday afternoon. The Broncos will play a conference game at Sonoma State beginning at 3 p.m. in Rohnert Park.
"I think the team has done a good job taking advantage of having a limited amount of games during finals and Spring Break," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur. "We've been able to spend more practice time working on parts of our game that needs improvement. It has also given some players a chance to get healthy."
Santa Clara (8-12; 5-3 WWPA) is among the Western Water Polo Association leaders, bringing a 5-3 league record into Thursday's game with Sonoma State (5-19; 1-6 WWPA). It will be the first of five-straight conference games for the Broncos, a pivotal stretch that will influence the team's seeding in the WWPA Championship tournament at the end of April.
"We've talked about these games as a team, and they are all very important," said Wilbur. "We know what we need to do to get a good seed at conference, and the team is focused on that goal."
"Sonoma State is a difficult place to play, and we have had some tough games there over the years. Last year, we won a tight game there, and two years ago they beat us pretty handily. We expect another good matchup, and we'll have to be playing at our best to get a win."
Sonoma State and Santa Clara have played twice this season. Both times the Broncos have come out on top, first winning in San Diego 7-5 back on February 13 and again 9-6 in Santa Clara February 25.
A trip to face league-leading Loyola Marymount, who is ranked No. 6 in this week's Collegiate Water Polo Top 20, and Cal State San Bernardino is up next for Santa Clara the weekend of April 2-3 in Los Angeles.
#6 LMU 3-0/12-4
Cal State East Bay 7-2/12-7
UC San Diego 5-1/8-12
Santa Clara 5-3/8-12
CS Monterey Bay 2-4/10-15
Sonoma State 1-6/5-19
Colorado State 0-1/6-9
CS San Bernardino 0-2/7-11
CS Bakersfield 0-4/4-19