After five of the team’s top players graduated, the women’s water polo team at California Baptist University is experiencing a season of growth and is off to a tough start facing top-ranked teams.
Younger players have found there is a need for them to step into bigger roles on the team as some senior players have injuries that have sidelined them.
The team started off their 2015 season by traveling to Los Angeles to play the University of Southern California in the University of California at Los Angeles Invite Tournament. The Lancers played a tough opponent in USC and lost by a score of 24-3.
The Lancers’ next game against UCLA was not any easier with UCLA in the lead, 16-5.
Even though the team lost both games, Jonathan Miller, head coach of the women’s water polo team, said he prefers to schedule tough games at the beginning of the year because it gives the players an opportunity to play Division I schools.
“We always try to sched- ule hard games early. That’s the general philosophy, to play top-20 ranked schools within the first couple weeks,” Miller said. “That’s where we want to be eventually. We had a couple people out with injuries, and once we get them back we hope it will make a big difference.”
Jessica Castellano, sophomore communication studies and photography double major and 2-meter defense player, said she is optimistic about the rest of the season, even though they had a tough start.
“The year is going pretty well,” Castellano said. “I think we have a lot of potential on the team. Moving on with the rest of the season and going into conference, I think we will do really well.”
Miller explained he is also optimistic about the conference games and the opportunity for his team to compete against other PacWest teams.
“We have a lot to build for the next couple of years,” Miller said. “It’s not necessarily a re-building year, but we have a lot of players playing that did not necessarily get as much playing time as last year. We have a lot of talent, so we’re just trying to figure out where everyone can fit in.”
The Lancers then traveled to Santa Barbara for the University of California, Santa Barbara
Invite on Jan. 23-24, where the Lancer’s went 1-3. The Lancers lost to Arizona State University, San Jose State University and UCLA, each ranked in the top-10 of the NCAA Division I schools.
During the Lancer Mini No. 1 tournament on Jan. 31, CBU hosted six teams.
After leading off against California State University, Northridge and losing, the Lancers were able to win their first game of the season against Hartwick College.
The Lancers’ record currently is 1-5.