Water polo takes on five different opponents at home
THE SANTA CLARA
October 30, 2014
Facing a tough batch of competition from all over the country, the Broncos were glad to be back in their home pool.
“(It) felt amazing to finally play at home and have our fans come and support,” junior Evan Chang said. “The energy in our play was certainly higher.”
Despite the relief of playing in Santa Clara after three straight games on the road, the No. 15 ranked men’s water polo team went 2-3 in their annual tournament, The Rodeo.
Tough Loss to Start
On Friday afternoon, Santa Clara faced the Bucknell University Bison in what proved to be an exciting game.
The first quarter didn’t see much action in terms of goals. Chang had the only score, putting the Broncos up 1-0 at the end of the quarter.
Head Coach Keith Wilbur acknowledged Chang’s hard work, saying he was “consistently a force.”
After several back-and-forth goals in the second quarter, the Bison gained a 5-3 lead going into halftime.
The start of the second half marked two quick goals by the Bison. But the Broncos responded with two goals of their own from Kyle Nadel and Godar, bringing Santa Clara to within two.
In the final seconds of the game, John Raineri scored to bring the Broncos within one goal, but the group’s efforts fell just short and the game ended with Bucknell earning the 9-8 victory.
Holding the Lead
In their second game of the weekend, Santa Clara faced Brown University. The Broncos went up early and held on to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, with goals by Raineri, Mark Davis and Will Grant.
They maintained the margin of three goals at half, leading the Bears 6-3.
The team never relinquished the lead in this game. At the end of the third, the Broncos still led 11-5. Brown managed to slip in two goals in the beginning of the fourth, but the Broncos responded with another goal to seal the deal with a 12-7 win.
Winning a Shootout
The Santa Clara team took on the Fresno Pacific University Sunbirds in their second game of the day on Saturday and their third of the weekend.
The visitors put in two goals right off the bat, but the Broncos were not fazed, managing a 4-2 lead at the end of the first. Each team put one more in the net and the half ended with a score of 5-3, Santa Clara.
Although the Sunbirds scored again right after half, Santa Clara kept their lead solid until nearly the end fourth quarter, outscoring the Sunbirds 9-5. Joe Maestri helped lead a solid defense with nine saves, contributing to the margin of goals. The Broncos ended the day with a 9-7 win and a 2-1 record for the first part of the tournament.
Defeat in Comeback
Sunday morning marked an early game for Santa Clara against the United States Air Force Academy Falcons, the same team they played last week in Colorado.
At half, both teams were tied 3-3. The Falcons went up 4-3 for a short amount of time in the third, but the Broncos responded with two goals, including one by DeMarco Orella that gave Santa Clara their first lead of the game.
The Falcons tied the game up again at 5. Another goal by Davis was not enough, and two more goals by the Falcons marked a tight 7-6 loss for the Broncos.
This loss propelled the team into another close loss against the University of California, Davis in their next game.
Loss of Momentum
Sunday afternoon’s game against Bay Area contender UC Davis was the Bronco’s fifth of the weekend and the final game of the tournament.
Although the Aggies went up by three goals early on, a solid Santa Clara defense kept the Aggies scoreless in both the second and third quarters.
Approaching the end of regular time, the Broncos led 5-3, but the Aggies managed two goals just before the end to tie it up 5-5, sending the game into overtime. During the second overtime, the Aggies managed to pull ahead 7-6 to clinch the victory.
This weekend provided Wilbur an opportunity to see where the team needs to improve as they approach several upcoming conference matches.
“We are in a position where we can earn a 1 or 2 seed (for conference playoffs), and that is our goal over the two weeks,” Wilbur said.
Santa Clara’s win over Brown, who defeated UC Davis 12-11, is a testimony to the parity of the games that took place at the Sullivan Aquatic Center last weekend.
Santa Clara welcomes both Loyola Marymount University and University of California, San Diego this weekend.
Contact Alli Kleppe at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.