Up Close and Personal with Jay Moorhead

Sept. 10, 2001

Men's water polo standout Jay Moorhead is entering his senior year as one of head coach Steve Hanson's leaders in and out of the pool. The senior was the Broncos' leading scorer in 2000 with 68 goals and has already posted 18 scores just six matches into his final season. From Aliso Niguel High School in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Moorhead scored a career-high six goals on Friday against BYU-Hawaii then added a thrilling performance on Sunday, scoring the game-winner against Redlands with just 25 seconds remaining in regulation.

Q: How did you get started playing water polo?

A: Just my freshman year in high school. My uncle played and my mom suggested I give it a try. I was playing on basketball in the winter, but I wasn't doing anything in the fall, so I just gave it a shot and went out and played. That was it.

Q: Why did you choose to play at Santa Clara?

A: I received some offers to play at other schools, but when Santa Clara offered me a scholarship to play here, I came. My dad also really wanted me to go here, he's a grad.

Q: What really excites you about playing water polo?

A: Our season rips. It's the best time to play at the beginning of the school year because we get the rest of the year off. It's also fun, it keeps me outdoors and it keeps me in shape.

Q: Talk about the game-winning goal you scored on Sunday against Redlands, with just :25 seconds left in regulation?

A: I was going in to set and I went back door on their goalie. Dan Figoni passed me the ball and I bobbled it so badly, I thought I was going to miss it. It was horrible. It went off the goalie's face and trickled to the side. I swam and grabbed it, thinking. 'If I don't make this, I'm going to kill myself.' I eventually just swatted it in. It was a garbage goal. I shouldn't have scored. It was just lucky.

Q: How did the team react after you scored?

A: Everybody just went crazy. We were all so stoked.

Q: This year is starting out much better in the wins-losses column for the team than last year. Can you describe the difference?

A: This year is so much better than last year, but honestly, when we came in, I thought we were going to be worse. We lost five seniors, but everybody's been playing so hard. We're good. It's surprising. I think everybody has more heart this year, we're trying a lot more. We would have given up on so many games that we've won this year that we didn't win last year, especially against teams like Redlands. It's fun.

Q: Is there anything you want to say to Santa Clara water polo fans?

A: Come out and see us play. It's a bummer sometimes for water polo when there's no fans there. We have six home games this season and we need to see some support out there. We can hear the fans when we're in the pool and it totally helps when there's more. The more the better.

Q: This is your senior year at Santa Clara and you're on track to graduate with a marketing degree in June. Do you have any plans for post-college life?

A: I don't know. One of my friends last year went to Australia to play pro for a year, and that seems interesting to me. I'm thinking about it. I'm planning on going to Europe in the summertime. After that, it all about coming back home and just seeing what happens. I'm not really sure right now.