SANTA CLARA, Calif.- On the final day of home games for an outstanding senior class in Marina Allen, Laura Espinosa, and Sarah Safir, the Santa Clara University women's water polo team fell in a tightly contested game to Cal St. East Bay, 11-8. After the Broncos two Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) wins yesterday Santa Clara's conference record now sits at 7-8 on the year.
In the afternoon, the team fell 13-6 to No. 8 San Jose St. All of the seniors were honored prior to the game.
"They have done a great job leading this team through some rough patches this year, and I can see all three of them playing their best ball right now," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur earlier this week about his three seniors. "That is a great sign, and I think our team will continue to follow their lead."
In the morning, the first quarter featured high octane offense from both sides, as Cal St. East Bay carried a 4-3 lead into the second period. Espinosa left her mark on senior day, as the record setting hole set finished her second goal of the game on a strong turn at two-meters to tie the game at four. Ashleigh Bandimere drew a five meter, and Claire Eadington scored a skip shot on the penelty at 5:52 in the second, giving the Broncos their first lead since the opening minutes of the first.
The Pioneers responded, rattling off three goals in a row to take a 7-5 lead linto the half. Cal St. East Bay got on the board first to start the third as Carly Clark struck from the outside. After being held scoreless for nine-plus minutes, Eadington snipered a shot from the outside on the man-advantage to cut the lead to two going to the fourth.
Things began to heat up in the fourth as Espinosa lobbed in her third goal of the day on a counter attack. However, East Bay responded with a goal from the three post on the man advnatage before Clark pushed the lead back to three at 4:09. The Broncos would were unable to claw within three the rest of the way.
The Broncos came out strong defensively, holding the Spartans to just two goals in the first eight minutes. By halftime, the Broncos trailed 6-1. The Broncos began to put the pressure on in the third, as Bandimere and Allen converted back-to-back goals to cut the Spartan lead to four.
Kaitlin Murphy cut the lead to three as she burried a shot from the three post on a man-advantage. However, the Spartans turned away any hopes of a Bronco comeback, as San Jose St. answered on the ensuing possession.
June Afshar replaced Clements at halftime in the cage and tallied four saves.
Cal St. East Bay 11, Santa Clara 8
CSUEB Goals: Pierce (5), Crain (2), Clark (2), Hudyn, Armstrong,
SCU Goals: Espinosa (3), Eadington (3), Allen, Swartz
Saves: Pekarske (CSUEB) 5; Clements (SCU) 8
No. 8 San Jose St 13, Santa Clara 5
SJSU Goals: Natalizio (4), Curran (2), Buzzetta (2), Stewart (2), Waasted (2), Witt,
SCU Goals: Pezzuto, Bandimere, Murphy, Eadington, Allen, Safir
Saves: Lind (SJSU) 7; Clements (SCU) 4, Afshar (SCU) 5