Sept. 22, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Santa Clara men's water polo team will begin WWPA conference play this weekend at the SlugFest on Saturday, September 23rd in Santa Cruz, Calif. The first match of the tournament will be against the University of Redlands at 10:30 a.m. It has not been an easy start to the season for the Broncos (0-8), who have played in two difficult tournaments so far.
"We've played a really tough schedule to start the season", said head coach Keith Wilbur. "It's been tough on the guys, but I keep telling them that it is all in preparation for the regular season."
And despite their record, their preparation has paid dividends as the Broncos have seen several strong performances thus far. Last weekend, sophomore Billy Gorin earned a WWPA Player of the Week nomination for his outstanding play at the NorCal Invitational, scoring 4 goals, notching 2 assists, having 4 steals, and drawing 3 kickouts and a 5M. And that's not all the Broncos have achieved. Freshmen Liam Farrell and Mike Sorgenfrei combined for 5 of 8 goals against Santa Barbara, a feat which head coach Keith Wilbur was very encouraged by.
For the first time this year, the Broncos will get to play against WWPA conference opponents like the University of Redlands, Claremont and Whittier College, and get to see others like UC Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, for the second straight tournament the Broncos will have their biggest test in their first match of the SlugFest Saturday morning against Redlands.
"That is definitely going to be a tough first game", said Wilbur. "We have to be ready for anything."
Also on the slate of matches for Santa Clara includes contests with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College, California Lutheran University, and Whittier College. Claremont and Whittier have been very competitive with Santa Clara in the past, while California Lutheran's relatively young program has advanced by leaps and bounds. Last season, the Broncos defeated Claremont by a score of 10-8, defeated Cal Lutheran by scores of 16-8 and 8-3, and defeated Whittier by a score of 9-5. Out of their 2006 SlugFest opponents, their only loss came at the hands of Redlands by a score of 9-8.
"I think that in the past we have been .500 or better at the SlugFest", Wilbur said. "I think that most of these conference games are against teams that we can beat, so we're looking forward to that competition."
Teams Participating in SlugFest
California Lutheran University
Santa Clara University
19 UC Santa Cruz
15 University of Redlands
Saturday, September 23rd
Santa Clara vs. 15 University of Redlands, 10:30 a.m.
Santa Clara vs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 24th
Santa Clara vs. California Lutheran University, 9:00 a.m.
Santa Clara vs. Whittier College, 1:00 p.m.