Thursday afternoon at Wilcox was the setting for all four rivalry games. The Santa Clara Bruins and Wilcox Chargers varsity and JV water polo squads for both boys and girls battled for city bragging rights.
First on the deck were the varsity boys with Wilcox storming out to a 5-0 lead in the first quarter. Santa Clara would battle back scoring three of the next four goals in the game to pull within 6-3. The Chargers though settled things down from there, scoring the next three goals to take a 9-3 lead. They would go on to win by a 16-7 final.
“I thought we played well. We came out really strong, came out as a team,” remarked Chargers Head Coach Lee McBride. “And that’s something that has been a little bit difficult for us, to get up and be ready to go at the start of some of these games.”
Chargers junior Ben Burkhardt, once again, led the way for Wilcox with four goals, but the highlight of the game was one of the three goals scored by senior Juan Arias. On a quick counter attack, Arias deftly flipped the ball over his head to an open James Odle. The sophomore took the no-look pass and rang the shot off the crossbar. Arias was right there to follow up and put home the rebound.
“My coach was yelling ‘Weak side! Weak side!’ and when I did the flick [pass] I wasn’t even sure who I was passing to,” chuckled Arias. “But I knew someone was there and James got it, shot it and I was thankfully there for the rebound.”
As for the Bruins’ side of the things, first-year Santa Clara Coach Paulina Pallares felt her squad performed well despite the loss.
“They played well, it’s hard because we don’t have too many players to sub in and out so we get really tired,” noted coach Pallares. “I think that we played well though. We still have to work on some offensive moves and spreading out, but they did well against a tough team without many subs.”
Three Bruins each scored twice. Ian Cramb, Adem Mujushi and Andrew Doane each collected a pair, while Justin Wood added the other.
“I thought we played well, we played better than I expected,” admitted Cramb. “Wilcox beat Harker and Monta Vista by a lot and we almost beat Harker, so we thought we might get crushed. We did lose 16-7, but we worked the ball and got some good shots off.”
The Bruins next take on Monta Vista at home on Tuesday. Wilcox will also play next on Tuesday when they travel to take on Cupertino.