Santa Clara-Cal State East Bay Square Off in WWPA Championships Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Santa Clara-Cal State East Bay Square Off in WWPA Championships Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Get an Inside Look at SCU Water Polo's Recent Road Trip to UOP

LA JOLLA, Calif. –
The Santa Clara University women's water polo team will open up the 2012 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championships against Cal State East Bay on Friday, April 27 at 1:30 p.m. at Canyonview Aquatic Center on the campus of UC San Diego.

Santa Clara (8-25; 7-8 WWPA) has earned the tournament's No. 5 seed and will face No. 4 seed, Cal State East Bay (17-11; 10-6 WWPA), in its first game.

The Broncos and Pioneers actually played a close game at UC San Diego's pool back on February 11. Cal State East Bay was able to win that matchup 6-3 before the team's split a pair of more recent games hosted by Santa Clara.

Santa Clara vs. Cal State East Bay (season-series)

2/11 CSEB 6, Santa Clara 3 (@ UCSD) Recap
2/18 SANTA CLARA 10, CSEB 7 Recap
4/15 CSEB 11, SANTA CLARA 8 Recap

"I think our first round game is the tournament's best matchup on the opening day of WWPA's this year," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur. "Our team is very focused on that game and excited to play.  We having been playing our best ball for the last month of the season, and we are looking forward to taking it up another level for our conference championships."

The Broncos capped off a three-game winning streak in its own home tournament earlier this month, beating both Cal State San Bernardino and Colorado State. SCU has gone 3-4 during the month of April, most recently, the team's defense played extremely well despite dropping a 7-4 road decision at Pacific this past Saturday.

"Although losing to East Bay at the Bronco tournament was a disappointment, I would like to think that it actually puts us at an advantage," junior Jamie Swartz said in a recent interview. "I am definitely more fired up to play them, and to prove that we are the better team. Plus, as the lower seed, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain ... We have a strong team, both defensively and offensively, and the game on Friday is our chance to prove just how much talent and drive we have."

Santa Clara had three different players named among the WWPA's best this season. Record-setting senior 2M Laura Espinosa (pictured), senior classmate D Marina Allen and freshman D Ashleigh Bandimere. Allen leads the team in goals (44), Espinosa has drawn 84 kick outs and Bandimere has added 31 goals in her rookie season.

The 2012 SCU senior class of Allen, Espinosa and Sarah Safir have each started in all 33 games this season, along with junior 2M  Alison Norris, high-scoring sophomore UT Claire Eadington and junior goalkeeper Stephanie Clements

A win Friday against CSEB would assure the Broncos of a top-four finish in the WWPA this season. For the complete tournament bracket and to follow the action this weekend click here.

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