Women’s water polo loses first, wins next two to finish fifth in the conference
THE SANTA CLARA
April 30, 2015
After what could be called as a disappointing season, the Santa Clara women’s water polo team looked to end the year on a positive note in the Golden Coast Conference Championship this past weekend.
The sixth-seeded Broncos opened up the tournament with a rematch from just the week before against Loyola Marymount University. In that first matchup, the Lions came out strong offensively and won 12-7. However, the Broncos were much stronger in their second showing. After a back-and-forth first quarter, the two sides were tied 4-4.
In the second quarter, junior Elizabeth Anderson responded with two of her four goals, leading the team to a 7-5 advantage at the half.
Despite the lead and apparent momentum after the break, Santa Clara’s offense slowed down as the team converted only three of their eight shots on goal.
LMU took advantage of the opportunity and went on to score six goals in the third period to retake the lead, and two more in the fourth to clinch the 13-10 victory.
“We had been working towards beating LMU the entire season,” said sophomore Francesca Puccinelli. “We were proud with the way that we put up a fight against them.”
Next, Santa Clara faced Fresno Pacific University in the last-place game.
Similar to the first game, Santa Clara stormed out to a 6-1 lead at halftime. Junior Elle Surber took over the game for the Broncos, scoring three of her five goals in the second half to seal a 14-8 route.
“We could have easily just given up and rolled over,” Puccinelli said. “Instead, we collectively decided to use all of the frustration after the (loss) and put it towards our play in our next games.”
Santa Clara ended their season with a win by defeating No. 4-seed Azusa Pacific University. in their final game of the tournament.
After getting shut out in the first quarter, Santa Clara went on to score four goals in the ensuing period to lead 4-3 behind a strong defensive outing.
“Knowing it was our final game of the season, we wanted to leave it all in the pool and play our best polo,” Lauren Radich said.
The Broncos continued to score four more more goals in the third, but APU stayed in the game by scoring three more of their own. Santa Clara would add three more goals to win the the match 11-8.
The squad aims to use their final win as a booster into next season. The team returns four of their five top scorers, including Julia Peters, who led the team in goals (61) and steals (34) and was second in assists (22).
With the final win, the Bronco’s finishes their season fifth in the GCC, a one place increase over the regular season standings, and 16-14 overall.
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