Men’s water polo falls to stout opponent in own pool
THE SANTA CLARA
October 9, 2014
The Bronco squad hosted their first game at Sullivan Aquatic Center of the season last Saturday night to a full and energetic crowd.
Santa Clara’s opponent, University of Pacific, was no easy foe to kick off the Bronco’s home campaign. Besides being the NCAA runner-up last year in the National Championship, the No. 7-ranked Tigers had won four of their last five matches; their only loss coming from No. 3 Cal.
Pacific showed their dominance early after jumping to a quick 3-0 lead in the first period. Santa Clara’s defense seemed unable to fend off the Tigers’ attack, as they easily imposed their offensive will early on in the game. Santa Clara created several chances in the first period as well, but were unable to get a shot past the Pacific keeper.
“We created our opportunities well,” said sophomore John Raineri. “They dropped on us a lot which means our sets were doing a really good job. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish as well as we hoped to.” The Broncos finally racked up points early in the second period, when junior Evan Chang finished a one-on-one shot against the Tigers’ keeper. Pacific seemed unfazed by their mistake
They kept the momentum on their side by scoring several minutes later but not before Raineri responded for the Broncos only seconds after to make the score 4-2.
Late in the second period, Santa Clara fought hard but fell short. Even though the Bronco offense failed to convert several times, the defense stuffed several opportunities, including a man-up chance for the Tigers.
“We played very well defensively, we had a lot of blocks from our goalie and did well at funneling them in,” said redshirt sophomore DeMarco Orella.
Pacific led 4-2 at halftime.
Santa Clara came out flat after the break. The Broncos conceded two third period goals to the Tigers, making the score 6-2 going into the fourth period.
The team attempted to close the deficit late by generating a small surge on offense early in the fourth period. The result was several promising chances that produced only one goal because of missed shots, making the score 6-3.
“We knew we had to have good defense to lead our offense, but we just couldn’t finish,” Raineri said.
Though the deficit was cut, all hopes of a comeback were squashed when Pacific scored twice more. Santa Clara scored a final goal off a penalty shot in the waning minutes of the match, but the outcome was all but decided at that point.
The Tigers won with a final score of 8-4.
Although the offense struggled, especially since the Broncos had scored at least nine goals in eight of their previous nine games, the close scoreline can be seen as a positive.
“We definitely were coming in the underdog, and the only thing you can do with that status is to go out hard,” Orella said.
“Try to take it to them and get the upper hand, which we just didn’t do, but as the scoreboard says we didn’t stop trying in all four quarters.”
Santa Clara’s schedule holds games against California Baptist University and the University of Redlands on the horizon.
“We know they (Cal Baptist) are an offensive oriented team,” freshman Richard Daly said. “They like to get up and down the pool pretty fast and play a run and gun style of game. We’ll have to shut down they’re counter-attack and play tight defense.”
The Broncos will look to redeem themselves this Friday, Oct. 10, when they travel to Cal Baptist. The game is set to start at 3:30 p.m.
Contact Nick Redfield at nredfield@scu. edu.