SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara men's water polo team had an impressive start to the 2018 season.
The Broncos (3-1) won three of their four games at last weekend's Princeton Invitational, capped off with a last-second win.
"I thought we got stronger throughout the weekend," said head coach Keith Wilbur. "The team had really good composure this weekend, especially in the second halfs. We kept our heads up, played good polo, and used our conditioning to finish out games."
After falling to host Princeton, 14-12, in Friday's opener, Santa Clara reeled off three straight victories.
"Our last game against Fordham had a great fourth quarter comeback," said Wilbur, "A lot of things were not going right for us in that game, but we kept making adjustments, kept our composure, and found a way. Scoring the go-ahead goal with 1 second left on the clock was a really fun and exciting way to finish the tournament."
Mac Carey who scored a career-high six goals, including that game-winner against Fordham, which had tied the score with 21 seconds remaining.
"Mac had a great tournament at Princeton," said Wilbur. "He's been one of our top goal scorers since his freshman year, and he continued that trend this weekend, but I also see him upping his level of play in all phases of the game."
Carey tallied 14 goals in the tournament and was nominated for Western Water Polo Association Player of the Week.
"I really like how he is playing defense, countering, and communicating with teammates," Wilbur said. "He has a knack for coming up big in tight situations, and his go ahead goal to beat Fordham with one second on the clock was a great play."
The Broncos will travel to face fourth-ranked Stanford on Saturday, with the game beginning at 9 a.m.
Santa Clara, which entered this week's CWPA ranking at No. 20, plays its home opener on Wednesday, Sept. 19 when Cal visits Sullivan Aquatic Center.
• Sam Toriggino, Patrick Kirk, Reilley May, Dane Estrella, Shane Hughes. Mac Carey and Keaton Fox have started all four games this season.
• Carey is the team's leading scorer with 14 goals. Ryan Werner (eight) and Sam Toriggino (seven) rank second and third, respectively.
• Hughes has dished a team-high 10 assists,
• May has drawn a team-best 10 ejections.
• Carey also leads the team with five steals.
The Broncos have a number of key performers back from last year who had quite a bit of the team's production. In fact, all but four players return from 2017.
Seven of the top nine goal scorers are back, including junior Patrick Kirk who tallied a team-high 32 goals with 25 coming in the last 14 games of the season.
The team also has four of the top five producers of kickouts drawn back led by senior Reilley May who posted 53. He has 142 in his career, which is ties him for fifth on the school's all-time list.
Last season, junior Mac Carey ranked second on the team in both goals (29) and kickouts drawn (36) and led the team with 41 assists.
BY THE NUMBERS
• 69...Percentage of steals (178 of 258) from 2017 made by returning players
• 75...Percentage of assists (155 of 208) from 2017 produced by members of current roster
• 79...Percentage of goals (194 of 247) from 2017 tallied by the current players
• 90...Percentage of kickouts drawn (180 of 201) from 2017 earned by members of the current roster