Men's Water Polo host Santa Clara In Season Opener Saturday

San Jose State's Rion Parenteau looks to shoot on goal during a Spartans practice.
The San Jose State men’s water polo team, ranked 16th in the Men's Varsity Preseason National Top-20 coaches’ poll, jumps back in the pool after a 34 year hiatus to host Bay Area rival the Santa Clara Broncos at the SJSU Aquatic Center on Saturday, September 5 at noon.

“I’m really excited. I can’t wait to see these guys actually play a games,” said Spartans’ head coach Bruce Watson.

A five-time California Community College Coach of the Year honoree, Watson opens the Spartans’ season with a 19-man roster comprised of eight juniors, two sophomores and nine freshmen. Goalkeeper Matej Matijevic and 2-meter defender Igor Miljan are among four student-athletes with international experience.

Watson has more than 600 wins over a 31-year coaching career, winning six California Community College state championships at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. His coaching record at West Valley was 638-184.

The Broncos finished the 2014-15 season with a 13-16 record, finishing fifth in the Western Water Polo Association with a 2-5 conference mark.

“Santa Clara is going to be a tough test for our first game,” Watson said. “They have John Raineri, a good junior left hander, and senior goalie Joe Maestri. The team has been playing together for a while.”

Santa Clara’s Keith Wilbur is in his 13th season directing the Broncos.

“They are going to be fired up. Nobody wants to lose to a first year team. Everybody we are going to play are going to be motivated not to lose to us,” Watson said.

The Spartans appeared in four straight NCAA Championship tournaments in the early 1970’s, finishing second behind UCLA in 1971. San Jose State placed fourth in 1970 and 1972 and fifth in 1973.

“My expectations for this season is that we get better every game and learn how I want us to play,” Watson said. “If we play the way I want us to play, we’ll win.”

Admission is free for Saturday’s match with a capacity crowd expected.

by Brian S. Stanley, SJSU athletics media relations student assistant