SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara will open postseason action Friday with the start of the Golden Coast Conference Championship, which will be held at Fresno State.
The Broncos (8-16, 1-6) will be the No. 7 seed in the three-day tournament that features eight games.
"We are excited for conference playoffs," head coach Keith Wilbur said. "We have had a lot of close games in conference this year, and we are looking forward to having another opportunity to play these teams."
Santa Clara will face second-seeded San Diego State (15-14, 5-2) at 3:15 p.m. in first-round action. The Aztecs knocked off the Broncos, 4-1, at home last month.
"San Diego State was a game where I thought we played great on defense, but we were not clicking on offense," Wilbur said. "We need to maintain that level of play on defense, and we are better on offense now than we were then. We are capable of creating more good scoring opportunities. San Diego State is an excellent team and a tough challenge, but I also like how we match up."
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The winner of the Santa Clara-SDSU contest and the game between No. 3 seed LMU (19-9, 5-2) and sixth-seeded Cal Baptist (14-16, 2-5) will face off in one of Saturday's semifinals.
This season, the Broncos lost to LMU, 8-4, at home and Cal Baptist, 8-6, on the road.
Pacific (14-8, 7-0), which knocked off the Broncos Saturday, is the top seed in the tournament that will be held at Fresno State Aquatics Center.
"Every year, our goal is to be peaking going into playoffs, and I think we are doing that right now," Wilbur said. "Our team defense was the first part of our game to really come together, and then we became more dynamic in our half court offense. Our more recent improvement has been our 6-on-5 offense which we have been working on a lot in the second half of the season. I really like the energy level and focus that I have been seeing in practice the last couple of weeks, and I believe we will play our best water polo of the year this weekend."