Despite the overall season record of 9-16, the Lancers women’s water polo have managed to maintain a strong bond and focus on what to improve on for next season.
“Every season concludes with the enjoyment of the sophomores participating for two years and what they brought to the team environment and to our play,” said Coach Terry Stoddard. “One of the takeaways would be to replace what they contributed with incoming freshmen and the sophomores that are returning next year.”
The Lancers faced their third loss four games into the season against Cerritos with a score of 3-16 and it was evident that something they needed to improve was their chemistry.
“In any game, just be stronger and…faster than the other team, and [don’t] play as separate entities”, said goalie Mariah York.
Something else that was affecting their game play from the beginning of the season was their defense, which is an obstacle they were able to overcome as the games went on.
“[We] spent two years before really having an outstanding defense and so in the beginning at first three weeks of the season almost, defense became something that we focused on and I felt like our defense got a lot better as we went along,” said Stoddard.
One of the highlights of the season for the Lancers was the victory against East Los Angeles College (ELAC). By the third quarter, ELAC was still in the lead, but were put behind after Lancers Jennifer Ortega and Zuri Polido managed to score a combined number of four goals.
“I try to just play hard the whole game and not let myself go down by the other players,” said Pulido. “Adrenaline and just trying to play your best kept my momentum going.”
Stoddard agreed, saying that the home game against ELAC was one of the best offensive games.
With approximately 70 more points than last year’s season, improvement on scoring was also something that the Lancers were able to accomplish.
“We lost to Rio Hondo one time and then we were able to beat them two more times after that,” said Stoddard. “So I think coming back and improving on our weaknesses and showing up our strengths made a big difference in those games.
Reflecting on the season, the Lancers were able to come together and focus their efforts into improving and playing as a team.
“I’m very proud of the way they came together as a team, this was a very close team. They ended up both ends of the pool, defense and offense. The communication system was good, they did very, very well connecting with steals.” said Stoddard. “We were able to have a great deal of steals, we had more offensive goals than we’ve had in the last two years, so I’m proud of the way their chemistry came together over time.”
The Lancers were able to accomplish their three goals: to play smart, to play together, and to play tough.