SONOMA, Calif.- Entering a crucial streach of Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) contests, the Santa Clara women's water polo team held the Seawolves scoreless for the first three quarters and picked up a 9-2 win over conference rival Sonoma St.
The win is crucial for Santa Clara's seedings at next month's WWPA tournament as the Broncos hold the season series over Sonoma St. 2-1. The Broncos conference record now sits at 4-5.
"I was really proud of how the girls played defense," said Head Coach Keith Wilbur. "Sarah Safir played great two meter defense on top of the offesnive numbers that she had. The team played a great solid press and we were patient on offense. We had one of our better days offensively going 5 for 10 on six-on-five chances. A lot of positives came out of this game."
The Broncos had an outstanding all-around effort. Laura Espinosa tallied three goals while Safir scored two. Marina Allen had a big game, tallying two assists and three steals while Alison Norris drew three ejections.
Stephanie Clements had a big game in the cage for the Broncos with nine saves.
"Stephanie probably had the best all-around game," said Wilbur. "She just had huge saves all throughout the game. She blocked a one-on-nobody and we had a shutout going into the fourth quarter."
The Broncos came out firing, opening up a 4-0 lead at the end of the first half. Senior Laura Espinosa cashed in the first two goals of the afternoon as the Broncos scored one more goal in the final minute and a half of the period. Both teams locked down defensively in the second quarter as Santa Clara scored the lone goal of the quarter.
Santa Clara put the game away in the third period as Safir burried the first two goals of the third. Jamie Swartz's skip shot gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead entering the fourth. Sonoma St. finally broke through in the last period as each team tallied two in the final quarter to give the Broncos a 9-2 lead.
The Broncos will continue their important stretch of games this weekend in Bakersfield. Santa Clara will see conference opponents Loyola Marymount, Cal St. Bakersfield, and Cal St. San Bernardino in addition to East Coast power Hartwick.
Santa Clara 9, Sonoma St. 2 - FINAL
Santa Clara Goals: Espinosa 3, Safir 2, Brutness, Preston, Bandimere, Swartz
SSU Goals: Del Carlo, Bisharat
Saves: Clements (SCU) 9 ; Lockshaw (SSU) 11