Final-Year Players Lead SCU Into This Weekend’s Invitational, The Bronco
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – An outstanding senior class, which includes record-setting two-meter player Laura Espinosa (Mountain View, Calif./Mountain View HS), driver Marina Allen (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley HS) and two-meter defender Sarah Safir (Los Gatos, Calif./Los Gatos HS) will be playing their final home games this weekend during Santa Clara University's annual invitational tournament, The Bronco.
"I feel like our seniors are really stepping it up right now," said Santa Clara women's water polo head coach Keith Wilbur. "They have done a great job leading this team through some rough patches this year, and I can see all three of them playing their best ball right now. That is a great sign, and I think our team will continue to follow their lead."
The Bronco will bring nine teams to the Sullivan Aquatic Center Saturday and Sunday, April 14-15. Complete results and additional tournament information can be found throughout the weekend by clicking here.
Adding additional intensity to the action this weekend is the fact that eight of the nine teams are members of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). With just two weeks before the WWPA Championships in San Diego, almost every game can affect possible championship seeding.
Santa Clara will play Cal State San Bernardino Saturday at 10:30 a.m., then host Colorado State at 2:15 p.m. On Sunday, the Broncos match up with Cal State East Bay at 11:15 a.m. and city rival and nationally-ranked San Jose State at 5 p.m.
"I thought we played some of our best water polo at Bakersfield, and we really want to build off of those games," said Wilbur about the recent play of his 2012 team. "Our defense keeps getting better, and we did a great job on our power play offense in our last five games. If we can continue to do those two things well and push our counter attack more, I think it will give us a really good chance at winning some of our games this coming weekend."
All three seniors, Espinosa, Allen and Safir have been major contributors during their college careers on the Mission Campus, each playing four seasons (2009-2012). They are hoping to push SCU up the league standings with a successful weekend in their home pool.
Wilbur also credits junior goalie, Stephanie Clements (San Carlos, Calif./Sacred Heart Prep) and junior Jamie Swartz (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) as an impact players as of late.
"Stephanie has elevated her game the past few weeks, and that will really help us down the stretch," added Wilbur. "Also on the defensive side, Jamie has emerged as a lock-down defender this year, and it's great to have a player like that who can shut down the best offensive player from another team."
Daily passes for the tournament are priced at $10 for adults, $5 youth/seniors and free admission will be offered to SCU students and faculty. Parking is free throughout the weekend. For more information contact the Santa Clara Ticket Office at 408-554-4660.
Support Santa Clara University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Bronco Bench Foundation. For more information follow this link or call 408-554-5577. For additional involvement opportunities with Santa Clara Athletics, click here.
Pictured above (l-r) Sarah Safir, Laura Espinosa and Marina Allen