By Jillian Johnson | Sports Editor
The official season for California Baptist University women’s water polo team starts in January, however, the team is already hard at work preparing for its upcoming season.
Jonathan Miller, was announced as the new women’s water polo coach on Sept. 25 by Dr. Micah Parker, director of athletics. A CBU alumnus, Miller played for the men’s water polo team as a goalie and said he had always dreamed of having the opportunity to coach at CBU.
Aside from being under Miller’s direction, the water polo team will also be underneath the leadership of two of its senior captains, Alyssa Birch and Christina Young, both kinesiology graduate students.
“We are extremely thankful (CBU) took on the task of finding a new coach as seriously as they did,” Birch said. “Coach Miller is going to be a great addition to the women’s program this year. He brings new insight and ideas, yet, is still familiar with what we stand for as an athletic program at CBU.”
Despite a new coach and group of athletes, the women’s water polo team is beginning to form a tight bond during their pre-season training.
“We have really started bonding this month, especially in the weight room,” Birch said.
To be even more successful in the upcoming season, the women’s water polo has a strong desire to grow as a team–all working toward the same goal.
“Our team dynamic is one of strong unity,” Young said. “We are friends in and out of the pool, which allows us to push each other harder, and understand each other better in tough situations, helping lead to our success.”
Since Young red-shirted last year, she is able to compete on the team this season.
As a fifth-year senior, Young has been a part of the water polo team throughout CBU’s transition to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“I have seen the program transform into one that is highly competitive with top Division I schools through improving each year and learning how to push past our limits, set new goals and achieve new levels of excellence as a team,” Young said.
As the Lancers anticipate a grueling season ahead, they are hard at work in both the weight room and the pool to ensure their bodies are in top shape for the games.
“This will most likely be one of our most successful seasons yet,” Birch said. “We are definitely ready to compete and prepare for the season ahead.”
With strong leadership and a desire to succeed, this year’s women’s water polo team stands as a force to be reckoned with.