SCU Water Polo Preps for Tough, Physical Games in San Diego
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University women's water polo team - receiving votes in the latest national Collegiate Water Polo Association Top 20 Poll - will be squaring off against 7th-ranked San Diego State Saturday, Feb. 9 at 11:10 a.m. in San Diego.
The game initiates what promises to be a exciting weekend of polo for the Broncos (3-4; 1-2 WWPA), who will go on to play three more times, in tournament format, at UC San Diego's 2013 Triton Invitational. The field is stacked with regionally and nationally recognized programs, which also includes No. 2 USC, No. 5 Arizona State and No. 10 Michigan.
"Since we are playing a lot of good teams, we are getting prepared for good, hard, physical play," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur on Wednesday. "I think that's the first thing. You have to be able to handle the physicality of these teams to be able to get up and down the pool with them. We are doing some specific drills, conditioning, running some hard presses."
At the UCSD Triton Invitational back in 2006, Wilbur and his Bronco women (ranked No. 20 at the time) were edged by a No. 8 San Diego State team, 5-4. It was the last meeting between the two programs.
Judging by Santa Clara's strong start to the 2013 season, the Broncos should do well down in San Diego again this year. Most recently, true freshman Elizabeth Anderson (Palo Alto, Calif./Gunn HS) scored four goals during SCU's 8-6 road win over Cal State Monterey Bay on Saturday. She totaled nine goals in three games last weekend and was named The Santa Clara's 'Athlete of the Week'. Anderson is part of an outstanding freshman class brought in by Wilbur this spring, which also includes standout two-meter player Julia Peters (San Jose, Calif./Presentation HS).
Peters (12) and E. Anderson (10) rank one and two on the team in goals scored. Jamie Swartz (San Diego, Calif. / Scripps Ranch HS) has a team-leading 11 steals, while Claire Eadington (Corona Del Mar / Corona Del Mar HS) has provided eight goals, eight assists and five steals through the first seven contests. Senior GK Stephanie Clements (San Carlos, Calif. / Sacred Heart Prep) has started in all seven games in goal. Clements made nine saves in that Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) victory over CS Monterey Bay last weekend.
"Against these teams (in San Diego), we hope to move the ball against the press to open things up, getting it to two-meters," Wilbur explains, looking ahead to the weekend at UCSD. "If we can do a good job with that, we should be able to have some success."
For the very latest on Santa Clara men's and women's water polo follow the Broncos on Twitter (@SCUPolo).