January 9, 2012

Espinosa, Broncos Enter Season Just Outside National Top 20

By, Nicole Grazioli (SCU Media Relations)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
The Santa Clara University women's water polo team had an incredible end to their 2011 season finishing the regular season 10-6 in the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA), while also earning a top tier placement in the league's championship tournament. This year they begin the 2012 campaign ranked just outside the nation's top 20.

Senior Laura Espinosa (Mountain View, Calif./Mountain View High School), who served as the Bronco's primary two-meter set, had an impressive individual season a year ago, scoring 20 goals, distributing nine assists and totaling 14 steals.  She also established a new Santa Clara single-season earned ejections record of 76.

"I feel pretty accomplished," Espinosa said.  "I was really happy to set a record and hopefully this year I will continue to build on my earned ejections and create a record that challenges future players."

Spring practice officially started January 4 and Espinosa, who was recognized as a 2011 WWPA Honorable Mention and a Player of the Week, is ready to build on last season and has high expectations.

"I'm extremely confident that this year will be a great season," Espinosa said.  "After the high finish we had last year, the girls are excited to do even better this year.  We all have set high goals and expectations and plan to execute them."

With many strong returners, the squad also welcomes nine new players.  Espinosa had a chance to play with one of them, transfer student Kendall Preston, and remarked on how she is a strong two-meter defender who will have a huge impact to the team.

Even though starting the season is exciting for Espinosa, she is sad about one thing: this is her final year.  The senior has enjoyed being a member of the SCU water polo team and will miss it, especially her teammates and coach.

"One of my favorite things about playing water polo at SCU is the team.  Year after year I have had great experiences with my teammates whether it is in the pool or outside of the pool," Espinosa said.  "I'm very lucky to be on a team that has such great chemistry.  I also really like the coaching style of Keith Wilbur and think that I have enjoyed and excelled under his coaching."

The Broncos kick off their 2012 schedule on Friday, January 20 with a home game versus UC Santa Barbara at 3:30 p.m.  Be sure to check out the game and support your Broncos this season!