After starting the season 0-3, the women’s water polo team at California Baptist University is on a hot streak winning matches and showing opposing teams the Lancers are serious competition.
Jonathan Miller, women’s water polo coach, reflected on the invite at the Bruno Invitational Feb. 2-3 where the Lancers finished 3-1.
“This past weekend the team showed a lot of toughness,” Miller said. “Being on the road, beating two top-25 teams, (beating) a team that’s receiving votes in the polls and doing it in games all decided by two goals or less shows a lot of heart.”
Madison Gonzales, junior criminal justice major and 2-meter, said the team’s best quality is the attitude of the Lancers on the bench.
“We pick each other up during the full course of the game,” Gonzales said. “Whether it’s cheering on the defense, offense or during substitutions. We make sure to uplift the women getting in (the game) and coming out of the water.”
As the Lancers adjust to the season, Miller said the biggest challenge will be forming team chemistry because new players have key roles.
“We only returned with two starters off last year’s team but so far the team has done well adjusting and filling those roles so we’re off to a good start,” Miller said.
Grace Ramirez, sophomore kinesiology major and goalie, said she was unable to pick just one thing she was looking forward to this season.
“We are just excited to play. Any time you get to play as an athlete it’s rewarding and exciting because you work so hard for this moment and when you play well it’s just all worth it,” Ramirez said.
Of the 25 women on the roster, there are only four seniors with the majority of the roster made up by freshman.
Miller said the new athletes have been a positive influence on the team.
“(The freshmen) have been doing a great job at becoming part of the team and contributing toward our team culture,” Miller said.
Gonzales said she is eager to see how the season plays out with the new Lancers.
“It’s a very different team than previous years. I can’t wait to see people step up and find their place and be part on the team,” Gonzales said.
In order to win more matches, Miller said there were a few aspects the women needed to work on.
“We just need to continue improving on both ends of the pool, especially in the little details,” Miller said. “We did give up some leads late in games and while it was good that we fought through to win, we want to keep pushing so we don’t let teams back in it at the end (of the game).”
Ramirez said if they play as a team and not individuals, the teammates can accomplish great things this year.
The Lancers are currently preparing for their next match against UC-San Diego. The match will take place Feb.17 in La Jolla,
“We are coming off a really good weekend, and we won those games by playing our game,” Ramirez said. “We just can’t let University of California, San Diego, steamroll us by forcing us to play their game. If we play the way that I know we are capable of playing, then things will be looking good.”