Santa Clara splits last two conference matches
Tyler J. Scott
THE SANTA CLARA
November 14, 2013
The men’s water polo senior class finished their last swim in the Sullivan Aquatic Center pool in victorious fashion.
Santa Clara defeated the United States Air Force Academy on Senior Day by a score of 13-7.
The following day, the Broncos fell to the University of California, Davis 11-4.
Before the action on Saturday, the squad honored the four seniors on the team: Tucker Carlson, Theo Nasser, Jimmy Moore and Patrick Weiss.
After the ceremony, the players took to the pool. Air Force led 5-4 after the first quarter, but Santa Clara outscored the Falcons 5-0 in the second quarter to go into halftime leading 9-5.
The Broncos’ defense held Air Force to just two goals in the second half and Santa Clara went on to capture the win.
Carlson’s five goals led the way for the Broncos. Nasser added three goals of his own and Moore finished with two.
“The secret to scoring is all about finesse, baby,” Carlson said.
In addition to the win, Nasser and Carlson definitely felt the emotion involved with playing in their final home game.
“Leading up to the game, I kept thinking about all of the practices, games and great memories my teammates, coaches and I have created over the past four years on the pool deck,” Nasser said. “It was emotional to think about playing in my last game at the Sullivan Aquatic Center, but the moment the game started, all of that was erased with adrenaline.”
Carlson also shared his remarks about completing his career in the Bronco’s home pool.
“It was a bittersweet feeling, really,” he said. “It is always fun to play in front of friends and family, especially when the game ends in our favor. I have had a great time playing for this school and for Coach (Keith) Wilbur. I have no regrets. I just wish I could come back and keep playing next year.”
The Broncos then traveled to the University of California, Davis for their final conference game of the season, but were defeated by the Aggies.
Offensively, two Aggies tallied hat tricks during the match. On the defensive end, UC Davis shut out the Broncos on the attack. The only converted power play for Santa Clara came with 3:11 left in the game on a rebound and put-back goal from redshirt junior Matt Kochalko.
Kochalko, along with freshman Graham McClone, sophomore James Rude and redshirt freshman Matt Godar scored the four goals for the Broncos.
Santa Clara has one more test before the Western Water Polo Association Championships. The team will travel to take on No. 5 University of California, Berkeley on Nov. 14.
“It is our last opportunity to fine-tune our plays, chemistry and defense against competition before the most important tournament of the season,” Nasser said.
Nasser added that the game will be a key factor for Broncos’ mental state as they prepare for the conference championships.
“We are excited we get a chance to play against a high-caliber team before our conference tournament to get us in the right mindset for the level we need to play at the following week,” Nasser said.
Carlson has high expectations for WWPA Championships.
“I want to win,” he said. “I know that we have the talent to make it possible. For the first time since I have been at this school, the team is really starting to believe that we can win it. That confidence combined with an elevated level of skill from rigid dedication will assist us in becoming the champions that we deserve to be.”
The WWPA Championships begin on Nov. 22 in Davis, Calif.
Contact Tyler J. Scott at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.