WWPA Weekly Release (PDF)
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University women's water polo team is looking to improve its early-season Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) record on Saturday, when the Broncos host Cal State East Bay at 12 noon. A matchup with local powerhouse and No. 1 Stanford will follow at 3 p.m.
A win Saturday against Cal State East Bay, a team that edged Santa Clara 6-3 last weekend at UC San Diego's Triton Invitational would be a big lift a Bronco team that hasn't got the results they had hoped for through the first few weeks of play.
"I like the positive attitude of our team, and if we maintain that approach for the rest of the season, then I believe we will start finding ourselves on the other side of some of these close games," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur, whose team has gone without a number of key players due to injury. "Last weekend, I thought we were a lot more consistent defensively, and our energy level was high throughout every game. Our offense was better, especially 6 on 5, but we still need to convert more opportunities, especially down the stretch, in order to win tight games."
SCU is getting solid play from senior two-meter player, Laura Espinosa, who set the program's career earned ejections mark over the weekend. The senior from nearby Mountain View, Calif. notched an outstanding total of 17 earned ejections in four games at UCSD and now holds the career mark with 200, which eclipsed Meg Zimmerman's (2007-2010) previous record of 183.
"In water polo, one of the most important parts of the game is holding position when you have an advantage," says Wilbur. "Laura is as good at holding position in front of the cage as any player I have ever coached. For a two-meter player, she is a little undersized, but she makes up for it with hard work, determination, and some well directed feistiness when battling her opponents."
Finding her name in the record books is nothing new for Espinosa, as last year she set the single-season earned ejections record of 76. Senior classmate Marina Allen tallied a season-high for goals during a close 9-7 loss at UC San Diego last weekend, which also featured outstanding play from junior goalkeeper Stephanie Clements. Additionally, Claire Eadington is pacing the Broncos in goals, assists, steals, and ranks second on the team in earned ejections.
Saturday's game with No. 1 Stanford will be the first between the two local teams since 2009. For tickets or more information on the weekend games at Santa Clara's Sullivan Aquatic Center, contact the SCU Ticket Office at 408-554-4660.