During the fall 2019 season, California Baptist University’s men’s water polo team had an overall record of 17-15 and 4-3 in the Western Athletic Conference in Division I.
With just three students who graduated from last year, the majority of the team looks to continue to practice hard in the offseason to prepare for an even more successful season next year.
Head coach Kevin Rosa said he believes the biggest challenges occurred at the beginning of the season, when many of his top players were injured.
“We started off the season 5-11. This is not what we wanted,” Rosa said. “But from there we played our best water polo and finished 12-4 to end up 17-15.”
Rosa’s expectation for this season and the next is based on the team’s mission statement: “Play for each other, embrace the opportunity for success and buy into our brotherhood.”
After Rosa and the team read the book, “The Power of a Positive Team” (2018), they took on a new mentality for their season.
“We wanted to work hard and be successful while enjoying being with the team and building on the relationships that they were going to form throughout the season,” Rosa said.
Zach Lowery, junior business administration major and attacker (ATT), stressed the importance of trust within the sport.
“There were multiple times where I was told that if the underclassmen know that you trust them, then they won’t feel pressured,” Lowery said. “I feel like this leads to a lot of success because our young players pulled through in some big games this year.”
Lowery said he believes his entire team has bonded more together as a group of brothers than just an ordinary team. He said he feels the bonding creates a chemistry connection in the water, which makes it easier to understand where each of his teammates are both physically and mentally, at all times.
In terms of accomplishments, Lowery said the team is happy with what it has accomplished as a group.
“We finished at the conference the best we ever have before, which was a big accomplishment for us. We had a few big wins throughout our season and a lot of number No. 1 goal games against the top 10 teams,” Lowery said.
Lowery said the team will continue to dream big and work hard to achieve greater accomplishments this next season.
“Our team tends to be as competitive as it gets, so (a few big wins) wasn’t the goal we wanted to achieve. We all wanted to win the Western Water Polo Association Championship, and this is our goal for next year,” Lowery said.
Joseph Galgani, junior business administration major and utility player said the offseason for him and his team will bring motivation for the next season.
“This year, our team had one of the strongest bonds in the three years I have been playing here,” Galgani said.
The team is highly motivated for this upcoming season, and if they continue to work hard during the offseason, the team will have a good start in the 2020 season.