SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's water polo team opens its season in the Aggie Invite on Saturday.
The Broncos will face host UC Davis at 10:30 a.m. and Fresno Pacific at 4:45 p.m.
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"We are playing a week earlier than normal for our first competition, but the team came back in good shape and we are looking forward to playing games," said head coach Keith Wilbur.
Santa Clara will have six weeks to gear up for Golden Coast Conference play.
"From these games, we'll see where we are at and what we need to work on," said Wilbur. "We will be building, adjusting, and/or adding something new each week over the couple months of the season, and that is normal for the process."
The Broncos are looking forward to the start of season competition with a strong returning class.
"We are excited for the upcoming season," said Wilbur. "We only graduated two seniors, and we are returning all of our starters, so we have a more veteran team than usual. We played well in our fall scrimmages, and I have been happy with the level of play in practices during these first two weeks."
A two-time All-GCC performer, Hannah Buck is back for her final season. She led the team with 40 goals and 75 kickouts drawn in 2018.
Senior Annie Eldredge was first on the team in assists (36) and second in goals (35).
In addition, Lydia Dadd was the backbone of the defense, starting all 31 games a year ago.
Hailey Eberle and Maggie Oys, a pair of juniors, also had productive campaigns in 2018. Eberle was third on the team in goals (34) and second in assists (30). Oys was second on the team in both kickouts drawn (23) and assists (31).
"I really like our freshman class," said Wilbur. "They have been playing well in practice, and they have gotten up to speed with the older players quicker than usual. They are also really pushing the conditioning, challenging the rest of team, and I really like seeing that from this younger group."