California Baptist University’s men’s water polo team is catching fire after winning seven of its last eight games, including being 5-1 at the Lancer Joust Tournament, with the lone loss coming at the hands of top-ranked University of Southern California.
The 17th-ranked Lancers continue to rise in the standings and said they hope to continue their recent success as they head into the final stretch of the season.
The players said they are optimistic about the direction the team is heading and where they stand as the season winds down.
“I am definitely satisfied with the team. There are going to be highs and lows during a season and the highs are higher than they have ever been,” said Caleb Rogers, senior kinesiology major and driver. “I am excited to see what we can do the rest of the season.”
The team said they credit their success to the chemistry they have cultivated throughout this season.
Their collective goal of winning and improving have been major factors in developing their overall chemistry. According to the players, their bond is peaking.
“I have been playing water polo for 11 years and this is the best chemistry I have had on a team in my whole career,” Rogers said.
Kevin Rosa, men’s water polo coach, also said the team’s chemistry has played a large role in their recent success.
“The guys like each other and want to work hard for each other to win as a group,” Rosa said.
The team’s bond is integral going into games against top-ranked schools. The Lancers never shy away from these games.
“We have to be able to go into other teams’ pools and grind out wins like we have been doing all season long,” Rosa said.
The Lancers have had to overcome adversity this season because of their tough schedule, including playing six games in two days at the Lancer Joust and four games in two days at the Bruno Fall Classic.
Playing this many games in such a small stretch of time requires a lot of hard, rigorous practices.
“We feel incredibly prepared to compete and that begins with practice,” Rogers said.
Many of the players have been playing water polo for years to make it possible to handle the intense training that the sport requires. The team works hard to prepare for tough stretches and sometimes spend up to nine hours a week conditioning.
“The coaches here are amazing, they push us to our limits,” said Joseph Galgani, freshman business administration major and utility player.
The Lancers say their coaches stress conditioning so the team can perform at a strong level at all times.
“I learned that we’re resilient, we do not always perform at our best but we are able to grind out close games and overcome,” Rosa said.
The team said they hope to ride this hot streak into their final stretch of games.
Their combination of effective training and team chemistry will aid the Lancers as the playoffs near. WWPA Championships will start Nov. 17.