Broncos Split Day One of Bronco Tournament

The Bronco, Tournament Central

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-
Behind a great defensive effort, the Santa Clara University Broncos split a pair of games on Day One of the Bronco Tournament at the Sulivan Aquatic Center. SCU edged Cal State Bakersfield 6-5 in the morning, but dropped a heartbreaker to No. 20 UC San Diego 9-8 in sudden-death overtime.

The Broncos record now sits at 11-14 overall, 8-5 in Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) play. Santa Clara returns to action tomorrow at 12 noon against No. 7 San Jose State.

Taylor Harkins and Marina led Bronco scorers on the day, finding the back of the net four times. Catilin Espe added three goals.

Anchoring the Broncos tough team defense was Wren White, who had an outstanding day tallying 16 saves, 11 against UCSD. "Wren played a great game in the cage she came up with a number of key saves" said head coach Keith Wilbur.

Against CS Bakersfield Whitney Allen drew a five -meter and Taylor Harkins converted the penalty shot to give the Broncos the early one goal lead. Caitlin Espe added a goal from the outside, but Bakersfield responded with a pair of goals to tie the game at two. Marina Allen converted a six-on-five, and Wren White made a huge save one a penalty shot to preserve the Broncos lead at the end of the first.

Allen scored a lob from eight meters away as the shot clock expired, but Bakersfield's Sam Shead scored from the post to keep the Roadrunners within one.  Espe got the Broncos rolling in the third, scoring from the outside on a six-on-five. Jade looked scored a skip shot as time expired to give the Broncos a three-goal advantage going into the fourth.

The Roadrunners wouldn't go away, scoring two goals to come within one at 3:18. But, the Broncos defense stifled the Roadrunners the rest of the way and held on for the 6-5 victory.

The Broncos second game of the day was easily the most exciting game of the day. The game saw numerous lead changes, as the Tritons finally outlasted Santa Clara 9-8 in sudden death overtime.

"San Diego is a really good team, and I thought our defense played well, Wren (White) had an excellent game in the cage," said head coach Keith Wiblur. "When we had two starters out of the game, I thought the players who came off the bench did a great job handling the pressure in overtime periods. However, we have to execute our offense a little bit better down the stretch."

M. Allen opened up the scoring with a goal on a six-on-five.  However, UCSD's Natalie Peng quickly answered to even the score at one. Espinosa finished from the inside to give the Broncos a 2-1 lead at the end of one.

After Harkins and Kirsten Bates traded goals in the second quarter, UC San Diego took their first lead of the game off of back-to-back goals. But, M. Allen responded with an outside shot to even the score at four. Just before the third quarter expired White came up with her second big five-meter block of the day to keep the score tied.

The fourth quarter went back and forth as Whitney Allen and Harkins both scored key goals for the Broncos. The Triton's Sarah Lizotte tied the game with 44 seconds remaining in regulation. Harkins struck first for the Broncos in overtime, but UCSD's Melissa Bartow knotted the game at eight with 43 seconds remaining in overtime. Two minutes into the first sudden death period, Felicia Orozco won the game for the Tritons on an outside shot.