SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara University's water polo team had a number of chances to jump out in front of No. 19 Long Beach State Sunday at the Sullivan Aquatic Center, but it was the 49ers countering with six goals in the later stages of the first half to come away with a 10-3 victory.
"The first quarter we drew quite a few kick outs and couldn't score," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur. "Instead of it being a game where we are up or tied, we are down two or three goals and (Long Beach State) was able to build off of that. We played good water polo, we countered, we drew kick outs and even played good defense. But over time, you have to put a few goals on the board. "
Santa Clara (4-16; 3-5 WWPA) was impressive counter-attacking in the first quarter, pushing the tempo and establishing position to draw kick outs. However, the 49ers did a remarkable job limiting goals during the Broncos' 6-on-5 opportunities and throughout the game, using a stout half-court defense to win for the second time in three games.
No. 19 Long Beach State (4-8; 0-0 Big West) defeated then-No. 19 UC San Diego 8-7 last weekend, part of a stretch where the 49ers faced five-straight ranked opponents. Similar to Santa Clara, Long Beach State plays a schedule loaded with top 20 competition.
"We are capable of playing with (Long Beach State) and winning a game like this, against a team of this caliber," said Wilbur. "However, we have to convert on offense. The positive is, yes, we can get up and down the pool with them, play good half-court defense, and be right there, but we have to score goals."
The Broncos will play another ranked Big West Conference opponent in No. 16 UC Davis on Saturday, March 10 at 11 a.m. The road game in Davis will be the Broncos only game of the upcoming week.
No. 19 Long Beach State 10, Santa Clara 3 - FINAL
LBST Goals: Melissa Matheson (3), Julie Lantz (2), Nicole Van Derhoof (1), Julia Garyfallou (1), Chelsea Parks (1), Justine Morgan (1,), Heather McKeon (1)
SCU Goals: Laura Espinosa (2), Alison Norris (1)
Saves: LBST - Kelly Ringel (8); SCU - Clements (9)