Water polo team goes 1-1 against conference foes
THE SANTA CLARA
April 23, 2015
With the regular season coming to an end, the Santa Clara women’s water polo team fought to gain momentum in their final weekend of games heading into the Golden Coast Conference Championship.
The team’s homestand consisted of Loyola Marymount University and Azusa Pacific University in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
Santa Clara has struggled to keep up with several GCC teams this season, losing three of their first four conference games by a combined score of 40-19.
On the contrary, LMU came into the weekend as one of the top three teams in the GCC, with a 3-1 conference record, and presented the Broncos with another challenging foe.
Defense has been a problem for the team this season, and it continued to be so during the match against the Lions on Friday.
The squad allowed four goals in the first quarter to begin the game, entering the second quarter down 4-1.
The Broncos’ offense began to click in the second period and lowered the deficit to 6-4 midway through the quarter on back-to-back goals from junior Elle Surber.
Defense, however, continued to be an issue for the team as they let in two more goals to end the half down 8-4.
“We didn’t convert the scoring opportunities we set up for ourselves,” redshirt junior Julia Peters said.
In the second half, Santa Clara was unable to generate much offense as the Lions collapsed on defense and only scored one goal in the third quarter.
LMU led 10-5 heading into the fourth quarter.
Both teams would add two more goals to their totals, ending the game by a final score of 12-7, in favor of LMU.
With a 1-4 conference record after Friday, the Broncos clinched the sixth seed in the GCC Championship, but still had much to play for on Saturday.
Earlier this season, Peters’ mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and, as a result, was unable to see many of the games throughout the season.
“This game was the only home game she was able to attend this season,” Peters said. “This game was extra special to show her the support she has from the Bronco community.”
In addition to advocating breast cancer awareness, the team also celebrated their Senior Day and marked the last home game for the team’s three seniors: Nicolette Balch, Ashleigh Bandimere and Lauren Radich.
Both teams came out firing and scored soon after the opening draw.
Santa Clara then scored three consecutive goals, but Azusa Pacific responded with two more of their own before the end of the first quarter.
This left Santa Clara leading 4-3 at the end of one.
Peters and the Broncos took over the second quarter, scoring two goals right away and holding the Cougars to zero goals until the very end of the quarter.
Peters, however, would respond one last time before the half.
She scored her fourth goal of the game to put Santa Clara up 7-4 at the break.
“I am extremely proud of how the team bounced back from the LMU game to the Azusa Pacific game,” Peters said. “We played well as a team and took control of the game from the get-go.”
Santa Clara continued their momentum into the second half and scored three more in the third to go up 10-5.
On an important day for the whole team, the Broncos refused to let up, scoring four more in the fourth to seal the 14-6 victory.
The win marks the last regular season game for Santa Clara, but their season isn’t over yet.
The team will enter the Golden Coast Conference Championship today and is set to rematch the No. 3-seeded LMU Lions in the first round of the tournament.
“We only have three practices left, so it’s important to have trust in ourselves, each other and our coach,” Peters said. “We believe that our entire season has prepared us for this weekend.”
If Santa Clara wins their game versus Loyola Marymount, the team will face the winner of the University of Pacific versus Fresno Pacific University matchup.
The game against the Lions will be played in Stockton at the University of the Pacific at 12 p.m.
Contact Nick Redfield at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.