The Santa Clara men's water polo team will return to action this weekend by hosting No. 3 UCLA on Sunday, October 16 at 12 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2009, when the Bruins bested the Broncos 11-5. Bronco Head Coach Wilbur talked about the upcoming game against UCLA.
"Playing one of the top teams in the country is a great opportunity for us, said Wilbur. "With the right approach, we can improve a lot by really focusing on certain aspects of the game when we play UCLA. First and foremost, we will stress team defense. Our goal is not give up anything easy on the counter attack. In the half court, there will be times that we need to drop, but we would like to force the shots from bad angles. Offensively, I expect to see a hard press, and we will have to counter hard, drive often, and make good releases to break the press. Our goal on offense will be to protect the ball and create good scoring opportunities."
The Broncos are coming off a big conference win over then No. 10 UC Davis 9-6. The win was an important victory for WWPA seedings as it evened the season matchup with the Aggies. Santa Clara and UC Davis are not scheduled to play again this season.
For the first time this season, the Broncos will only be playing one game this weekend. That has allowed Coach Wilbur to push the team conditioning wise in preparation for the end of the year run.
"We have had multiple games every weekend since early September, said Wilbur." "Those weekends are grueling, so we need to use the following week to first recover and then taper a little bit going into the next weekend. During that time, we work a lot more on tactics and skills than conditioning. Now that we had only two games last weekend and one game this upcoming weekend, we need to push the conditioning more in practice this week to maintain our fitness level, so we are ready when the multiple game weekends start up again."
The Broncos had numerous big performances in the win. Redshirt Sophomore Theo Nasser had one of his best games as a Bronco, scoring two goals while drawing three ejections and three five-meters. Fifth-year senior Daley Meistrell's three assists broke the Santa Clara career assist record, and senior Michael Wishart had two penalty blocks in the cage.
Daley Meistrell's three assists against UC Davis on October 9, 2011, broke Jack Wall's mark of 139 as the all-time leader in assists. Case finished the weekend with four goals, giving him 130 in his career. Case now sits eighth all-time in goals scored.
Five players have scored their first career goals this season. Jimmy Moore collected his first against California on Sept. 3, while Mark Davis, Kyle Surber and Matt Kochalko all registered their first goals at the Princeton Invtational. C.J. D'Arienzo found the back of the net vs. La Verne at the Aggie Shootout for his first career goal.
Home Sweet Home
The Broncos will play all eight home games this season in the month of October. The Broncos will host Senior Day on October 30th against the University of the Pacific.
Player of the Week
Michael Wishart was named the Sep. 21 WWPA Co-Player of the Week for his outstanding weekend at the annual Nor Cal Tournament. Wishart tallied 49 saves in four games, including a career-high 18 against No. 19 St. Francis. Wishart was also named WWPA player of the week for the week of Oct. 27, 2010.
In the Broncos 9-6 upset over No. 10 Davis, Wishart recorded his 1,000th career save. Wishart now has registered 1,012 saves after making 23 blocks this past weekend. Wishart sits 51 blocks away from tying the Broncos all-time career blocks leader Peter Moore.