The 14-1 score may suggest the Bruins played a dominant game, but taking on a lower-ranked Milpitas squad, Head Coach Aja Bumbaca was actually none too pleased with her squad after the game.
“We didn’t control the ball the way I wanted,” noted Bumbaca. “It’s not about scoring goals, it’s about executing the plays and being able to control the ball. I felt like there was a lot of jungle ball — we call it jungle ball — which is not what we want. My goal is a championship, my goal is to go to CCS, so if we’re not going to play [Milpitas] like we’re gonna play Harker or other top teams, then I’m not doing my job. They need to come in fighting.
“And the first quarter they did,” continued Bumbaca. “It’s when I tell them to pull back, they lose all perception of the ball and what to do. The first quarter at 7-0 and I give them the go ahead to just play water polo, they execute. I wanted it to be clean, I didn’t mind the clock running nor dumping the ball, they just have to be able to control the ball and they weren’t.”
While the cohesion may not have been at the level coach Bumbaca was hoping for, the team did get the scoring decently spread out. Mariah Walker paced the scoring with seven goals, but Clara Sim, Kathryn Peak, Medhya Sundher and Nia Bumbaca all got on the scoresheet as well.
Sundher finished with four goals including a nice shot just inside the crossbar and post from in tight early in the second quarter. Just as impressive as some of the goals scored at one end, though, were the goals not scored at the other end. Bruins goalkeeper Melanie Caballero stopped three tough shots, including two while defending a Milpitas six-on-five advantage. Caballero stood strong and performed well defending her cage, despite the limited opportunities to touch the ball.
“The main thing I focus on is I still need to keep warm,” remarked Caballero on staying focused with little action. “So, I’m in the cage doing egg beater, and talking with my teammates.”
While in some of the games Caballero doesn’t get much practice making saves, she practices plenty during actual practice, defending Walker’s incredibly powerful shot.
“Mariah is so scary,” joked Caballero. “But it’s really good practice. Kat is scary too, but I have been able to block a couple more of Kat’s than I have of Mariah’s. Mariah is a beast.”
“The last couple of games she’s been doing really well,” said coach Bumbaca on her sophomore goalie. “We zoned in on a couple of her weaknesses and have been executing those a lot at practice. Some of the varsity boys stick around and shoot on her too, helps get her the extra practice.”
With the win Santa Clara improves to 10-1 in league. They’ll dip into the pool next on Thursday, Oct. 17 at Monta Vista.