Women’s water polo loses hard fought game

The women’s water polo team put on a strong push in the fourth quarter but it was not enough as the Santa Clara Broncos were able to hold onto the lead. “Santa Clara was very tough competition. It’s just the beginning for us this season so we have a lot to learn, but I’m confident we will get there.” said senior, Jojo Williams.

The game started with a closely contested first quarter. After chances for both teams the score was 2-1 in favor of the Broncos heading into the second quarter. 

Santa Clara was able to control the possession and tempo of the game to open the second quarter. After some penalty trouble, the Seawolves quickly found themselves down 4-1. Goalie, Brooke Sullivan was able to stretch the pool and hit Annika Erickson with a perfect pass. After a smooth finish from Erickson, the score was 4-2. 

The Seawolves capitalized on a Bronco error and made the score 4-3. Then, after conceding a man down goal, the first half finished with Santa Clara leading 5-3. 

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The start of the second half gave the Seawolves some opportunities to play man up but they were not able to capitalize. When the game returned to even play, Santa Clara was able to score two goals. The third quarter finished with the Broncos up 7-3.

The fourth quarter exhibited dominate play from both sides at times and was the most physical quarter of the game. Erickson of the Seawolves was able to score a quick goal and bring her team within three goals to start the final quarter. Down three goals would be as close as Sonoma State would get as the Broncos scored the next five goals. 

Senior Taylor Brooks said, “I think the team played well with the hand that we were dealt. Santa Clara is a very physical team and the refs didn’t help out at all.” The game was very physical, and there were many man up opportunities for both teams.

Down but not out, the Seawolves closed the quarter by scoring four of the last five goals. The game finished with the Broncos on top, 13-8. Annika Erickson finished the game with four goals for the Seawolves and Jordan Williams scored three. 

Senior captain Kelly Failner said, “playing some really talented D1 teams was a great way to grow together and learn some new things that we need to work on for our league games coming up.”

The game leaves Sonoma State still in search of their first win of the season. After opening the season against three of the top 25 teams in the nation, the Seawolves have had a tough road to start the year. “We have taken these opportunities against these better teams to get better ourselves and learn from our mistakes,” said Jordan Williams. “Games like these only make us stronger and better.” 

The Seawolves will look to rebound in a big tournament in Thousand Oaks next week. They will be playing against La Verne, California Lutheran, California Baptist and Azusa Pacific in this busy invitational tournament. Taylor Brooks said, “Going into this weekend our main focus is protecting the ball and minimizing our turnovers because that got us into trouble.”

Their next home game is against Cal State Monterey Bay on March 23.