STOCKTON, Calif. – Santa Clara women's water polo put together a strong performance, but came up just short in Saturday's Golden Coast Conference road matchup with ninth-ranked Pacific.
Kyra Christmas posted three goals and three assists, and Mariana Duarte scored three times to help the Tigers hold off the Broncos, 8-7.
Cathy Cantoni tallied two goals and Susan Providenza scored one to go along with a game-high four assists for Santa Clara (8-18, 3-4), which rallied from an 8-4 fourth-quarter deficit.
Annie Eldredge and Hannah Buck scored midway through the final period, and Providenza's goal off a Maggie Oys feed with 34 seconds left drew the Broncos within a goal.
The Tigers (17-8, 6-1) ran the clock down and dumped the ball with two seconds to go. After a timeout, Oys had a final attempt, which never reached goalie Alexis Hollinrake, getting blocked by a defender.
Holllinrake was credited with six saves in earning the victory. Francesca Puccinelli posted nine blocks for the Broncos who led early before overcoming a 4-2 deficit.
Goals by Lauren Paxton and Hailey Eberle midway through the second period tied the game at 4-all. But Christmas scored on the power play with less than three minutes left before halftime then Christmas and Duarte added goals in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter.
Both teams were credited with 23 shots and connected on 50 percent of their man-advantage opportunities, with Santa Clara going 4 of 8 and Pacific 3-for-6.
The Broncos, who end the regular season tied for fourth in the GCC standings with Azusa Pacific and Cal Baptist, conclude a North Bay Area two-game road trip Sunday, facing no. 13 UC Davis (14-16) at noon. After winning five in a row, the Aggies have dropped their last three, but all to teams ranked among the top 20 in the nation.
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Santa Clara will be the host institution for the three-day GCC Championship, which kicks off Friday at Sullivan Aquatic Center. The seven-team tournament features three games each day beginning at 10:30 a.m.
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