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Bruins Underdogs Win Second Place in CCS Championship

Congratulations to the Santa Clara Bruins girls water polo team on winning second place in this year’s Central Coast Section (CCS) Championship.

What a send-off for Head Coach Aja Bumbaca in her last year coaching the Bruins!

“I’m super proud of this team, it was such a long journey and to end in a bang like this is amazing,” Bumbaca told The Silicon Valley Voice.

In the final against the No. 1 seed, the Gunn Titans, the Bruins knew it was going to be a tough game, but got off to a great start with a 2-0 first-quarter lead. Unfortunately, the might of the Titans proved overwhelming and the Titans won with a 13-8 victory.

“I feel like we got overwhelmed by the way they played,” Bruins’ senior captain Kat Peak told The Silicon Valley Voice. “They had two girls who were absolutely amazing. I’m proud of all of us, we are a young team and I’m really proud we even made it to CCS in the first place.”

Despite the loss in the final their overall record for the season was impressive, especially for a young team —  the overall record was 22-2, meaning they only lost two games. One of the losses was early in the season to division rival Harker (9-10) and then the CCS champ game against Gunn High School (13-8). 

“SCHS is incredibly proud of our girls’ water polo team,” said Principal Greg Shelby. “Not only are the girls exceptional athletes, but they always put the team ahead of individuals and acted with great sportsmanship. It's a wonderful way to end Coach Bumbaca's time as a Bruin, and we look forward to seeing the girls continue to succeed in the future.”

The team’s biggest win in the regular season was the El Camino championship game against Harker where they won 8-3 securing a spot as an automatic bid for CCS. 

“[The team’s] favorite game this year was the win in a Watsonville tournament championship game against Turlock High School,” said Bumbaca. “The girls had a great weekend of team bonding and really came together as a team. They went on a 19 game winning streak.” 

Their rigorous practice sessions, every weekday, some mornings before school, and even on Saturdays, allowed the team to build up their endurance and strength. Having only a 10 person team with no sub might be considered by some to be a disadvantage, but the team took it all in their stride and used it to their advantage as motivation to do better.

“Everyone loves an underdog, and I believe when teams underestimated them, it fueled their fire,” Bumbaca said proudly.

 Santa Clara High School girls water polo team