Pioneers bucked by Broncos at home

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

The California State East Bay water polo team’s six game win-streak ended on Saturday versus Santa Clara University.

Before the Pioneers faced the Broncos, the team had the opportunity to play against the Chinese National Team in a scrimmage on March 9.

“We were able to learn a lot against the Chinese National Team,” senior utility Brandi Carroll said. “They were very talented and skilled and it was good to see an example of how we should play, and motivated us to work even harder.”

Ahead of playing Santa Clara (5-13 overall, 0-1 conference), the Pioneers had an idea of what they were up against as they played the Broncos earlier in the season, but fell 6-4 on Feb. 4 in Santa Clara.

The Pioneers came out strong in the first quarter as they were aggressive and put the first point on the board when senior two-meter Olivia Mackell scored. After that, the Pioneers and Broncos continued to exchange goals throughout the first quarter and went into the second quarter tied 3-3.

The second quarter was a different story for the Pioneers. Santa Clara took control of the the game and went on a 6-0 run, keeping the Pioneers from scoring even a single goal in the entire frame, which put the Broncos up 9-3 and the Pioneers in a tough position.

“We kept making little mistakes that resulted in goals, and just were not able to convert plays like we had in the first quarter,” senior goalkeeper Nikki Vaughan said. “It was very unfortunate because we were neck-and-neck with them.”

In the third and fourth quarters the Pioneers sharpened up a bit and only allowed 2 more goals throughout the two quarters. Vaughan had a big 1-on-1 breakaway save in the third quarter that gave the Pioneers some much needed momentum. East Bay added 4 goals, but it was not enough to override the Broncos, and they fell 11-7.

Carroll led the team in goals with 2, one of which came after she was hit in the face by a Santa Clara player. Vaughan had 8 saves in three quarters.

The Pioneers will play the Chinese National team again on March 16 in preparation for the Roadrunner Invitational in Bakersfield, which starts on March 18. East Bay will face some of the top the teams in the nation including #7 ranked Arizona State and #10 ranked Princeton, as well as California State Bakersfield and San Diego State.

“It will be very challenging, but fun to go out there and play against some of the best players in the nation,” Carroll said. “Princeton has 2016 Olympic Gold medalist Ashleigh Johnson on their team, so it will be great to go against a player like her.”