RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Maggie Oys scored the most important goal of her young career to lift Santa Clara women's water polo to a key Golden Coast Conference road win against Cal Baptist.
Oys scored the go-ahead goal with less than two minutes to go in Thursday's 7-6 victory over the 25th-ranked Lancers, which, coupled with Azusa Pacific's loss to San Diego State, vaulted the Broncos (8-17, 3-3) into a fourth-place tie in the league standings with the tournament just two weeks away.
"It was a great team effort all four quarters," Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur said. "They played really hard and were focused to earn a road win."
Hannah Buck scored a game-high tying three goals while Annie Eldredge scored once and tallied three assists for Santa Clara, which never trailed but had to hold off a late Cal Baptist (15-12, 1-4) rally.
Two scores by Buck in just more than a one-minute span, followed by Eldredge's goal built a 6-2 lead for Santa Clara late in the third quarter.
But Cal Baptist's Lizette Perez, who tallied three goals, scored 30 seconds following Eldredge and the Lancers added three markers in less than two minutes midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game at 6-all.
Francesca Puccinelli then came up with two of her 15 saves, including one on Perez on the power play, to help set up the Oys heroics.
"Fran was outstanding in the cage and came up with a huge block on the late 6-on-5," Wilbur said.
Oys, a freshman who entered the contest with eight goals on the season, was able to rifle the game-winner past Cal Baptist goalie Lina Medeiros from 10 meters out with 1:40 remaining.
The Lancers had two more possessions, but Cathy Cantoni registered one of her two steals and the Broncos registered a field block on Jessica Castellano's late attempt to secure a sweep on its two-game Southern California road trip. The Broncos downed Concordia, 14-8, in in Wednesday's GCC matchup.
I'm really proud of the team's resolve in a game like this after we've had a few tough one-goal and overtime losses. And it was nice to come up with a win over a ranked team on the road.
Buck was able to draw three kickouts on the Lancers, but the Broncos converted only 1 of 6 opportunities in the game.
Blair Akerland was credited with a team-high three assists for the Broncos who have two more games remaining in the regular season. They face Pacific on Saturday, April 22, in their final GCC contest and UC Davis the following day. Both of those games are on the road.
The seven-team GCC Championship will be held April 28-30 at Santa Clara.
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