Men’s water polo unable to keep pace with highly-ranked Stanford
Tyler J. Scott
THE SANTA CLARA
October 10, 2013
The No. 15-ranked Santa Clara men’s water polo team was unable to pull an upset over fourth-ranked Stanford University on Saturday, falling 20-5 in a lopsided victory.
Stanford went on a 5-0 run in the first quarter and added eight goals in the third quarter to defeat the Broncos.
“Stanford is ranked No. 4, and they are one of the best teams in the country,” said Santa Clara Head Coach Keith Wilbur. “Our team played hard, but we did not execute well. Stanford is the type of the team that if you make any mistake, they will be able to capitalize on it. We will learn from our mistakes and play better next weekend.”
Santa Clara jumped out to an early lead when junior driver Mark Davis scored a goal from the perimeter with about 5:49 left in the first quarter to put the Broncos up 1-0.
However, the Cardinal answered 15 seconds later with a goal from fifth-year senior Forrest Watkins to tie it at one apiece. Watkins’ goal was the first of five straight that gave the Cardinal an early advantage.
The Broncos closed the gap slightly when redshirt senior Jimmy Moore scored to begin the second quarter. But Stanford answered with two quick goals within 22 seconds of each other to increase their lead to 7-2.
The first half ended with each team netting one goal to make the score 8-3 in favor of the Cardinal.
“Stanford ran a hard press most of the game, and their center defenders were very physical,” Wilbur said.
The second half didn’t go any better for Santa Clara. The Cardinal scored five straight goals, essentially putting the game out of reach for the Broncos.
Stanford ended up netting 20 goals, 12 of them in the second half.
This loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Broncos, who now have a regular season record of 9-5.
But this loss also gave the team some perspective.
“We know how good Stanford is, and with the right attitude we will only get better by playing them,” Wilbur said. “It’s never fun to take a loss like that, but we will learn and improve from it.”
Despite the defeat, multiple Broncos put forth solid performances.
Redshirt junior Matt Kochalko and freshman Graham McClone each scored, while redshirt junior goalie Matt Pritchett collected nine saves.
“I thought our guys played hard throughout the game — and in particular — our centers, Theo Nasser and Evan Chang, did very well,” Wilbur said.
Despite the loss, Santa Clara’s objectives have not changed.
“Our goal for the season is to win our conference,” Wilbur said. “We play a very tough schedule all year because I believe we get better by playing the best teams. My expectation is that we are peaking at the end of the season, and this will give us the best chance to make a run at our conference championship in November.”
The Broncos will continue their season Oct. 12 when they begin play in the SoCal Tournament in Irvine, Calif.
Contact Tyler J. Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.