Bronco Water Polo Enjoys Successful Home Tournament, Looks Forward to Closing Stretch
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University Broncos have been playing their best water polo of the season over the past few weeks, winning twice at its own tournament, The Bronco. SCU enters Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championship play as the No. 5 seed after completing its regular-season league schedule with seven wins.
"The Bronco tournament went very well," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur. "We had nice weather, large crowds, and a lot of good water polo. In terms of the competition, I thought we played well throughout the weekend. We had a great win over Colorado State, which was very important for seeding at the WWPA's."
SCU has made notable progress this year, going 7-8 in league play after starting the season slow back in late January and early February. The senior class of Sarah Safir (Los Gatos, Calif./Los Gatos HS), Marina Allen (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley HS) and Laura Espinosa (Mountain View, Calif./Mountain View HS) have played extremely well to lead the late-surge and sophomore Claire Eadington (Corona Del Mar/Corona Del Mar HS) was named The Santa Clara 'Athlete of the Week' after scoring seven goals at The Bronco.
"Our team has shown a lot of improvement over the course of the season," said Wilbur. "The beginning was tough, but the team stayed positive and kept working hard. In the last month, I have really seen a significant jump in our level of play. I think we are playing our best water polo right now, and that is a great place to be going into conference championships."
2012 WWPA Women's Championship* (seeds and WWPA records)
Friday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29 (San Diego, Calif.)
1. #7 Loyola Marymount (10-0)
2. UC San Diego (8-2)
3. CSU Bakersfield (11-4)
4. Cal State East Bay (10-6)
5. Santa Clara (7-8)
6. Cal State Monterey Bay (6-7)
7. Sonoma State (5-10)
8. Colorado State (3-9)
9. Cal State San Bernardino (0-14)
*Winner earns automatic bid to 2012 National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship hosted by San Diego State, May 11-13.
Santa Clara's opening game at the WWPA's will be Friday, April 27 at 1:30 p.m. against 4th-seeded Cal State East Bay. Click here for the complete 2012 WWPA Championship schedule.
Prior to the tournament, Santa Clara will play Nor-Cal rival the University of the Pacific, who is receiving votes in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Top 20 poll. SCU will travel to Stockton, Calif. for a 12 noon game this Saturday, April 21.
"In the last couple of years, we have developed a good rivalry with UOP," said Wilbur. "This is a great game to have the week before conference championships. UOP has a strong team, and I think the game will have the same energy and intensity as a playoff game, which is exactly what we want in preparation for WWPA's."