Water Polo Hosts Bronco Invite
Broncos split four matches during home tournament
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 11:04
With a less-than-stellar overall record of 8-24, things aren’t nearly as disappointing for the Santa Clara women’s water polo team as this may lead one to believe. The key has been the Broncos’ performance in conference games, in which they are now 7-8 following this past weekend’s Bronco Invitational at the Sullivan Aquatic Center.
Santa Clara, which plays in the Western Water Polo Association, started off the weekend nicely by picking up two wins on Saturday. The Broncos crushed Cal State San Bernardino 18-3 before taking down Colorado State by a score of 12-8 later that afternoon.
In the morning game against Cal State San Bernardino, the Broncos were led in scoring by freshman Ashleigh Bandimere, who found the back of the net three times. Five other Broncos scored two goals apiece and a total of 11 different Broncos scored in the game.
In the afternoon, seniors Marina Allen and Sarah Safir led Santa Clara with two goals apiece, but again, the team’s depth was on display as 10 different Broncos scored in the game.
“Saturday’s games were really important,” said Safir. “We had beaten CSU San Bernadino 21-7 two weeks prior, so being able to execute our offense well again and hold them to less goals this time was definitely a positive.”
On Sunday the Broncos found themselves up against some stiffer competition and ended up losing a close match to conference opponent Cal State East Bay, 11-8. In the afternoon Santa Clara fell again, this time 13-6 against No. 8 San Jose State. The Sunday losses evened the Broncos’ record for the weekend and landed them at 7-8 in conference play.
Senior Laura Espinosa and sophomore Claire Eadington led the team in scoring Sunday morning with three goals each and in the afternoon Santa Clara’s six goals came from six different contributors.
Three seniors, Allen, Safir and Espinosa were honored before their final home game on Sunday afternoon. The three have noticeably stepped up their game as of late and had 14 goals among them at the Bronco Invitational.
For Safir and her classmates, it has been about peaking at the right time in order to carry a high level of play into the WWPA Championships.
“I’m a firm believer in leading by example,” said Safir. “As seniors we strive to work extremely hard in games and practices in order to push ourselves and encourage our teammates to do the same. This last stretch (of the season) is basically what we’ve been working towards all season, so it’s all about everyone coming together and playing our best water polo.”
Espinosa felt that the Bronco Invitational did just that. The wins were obviously great, but the losses also gave the team a beneficial perspective.
“Overall, this was a very good weekend for us,” said Espinosa. “We improved in areas we needed to improve and we played at a high level that we need to be playing at going into (the WWPA Championships). Colorado State was a big win and put us in good standings for conference.”
The Broncos play one final game at the University of t he Pacific on Saturday before the WWPA Championships begin. The tournament will be taking place in San Diego from April 27-29.
Contact Ryan Marshall at email@example.com or (408) 554-4852.