After missing the playoffs by one game last year, water polo looked like a force to be reckoned with in 2018; that dream has disappeared quickly however as they were defeated in their first three conference games this season.
The Lancers have clearly been outmatched by their opponents which is reflected in the scores of each game. The Lancers fell to Chaffey by a score of 15-4, lost to Cerritos 17-8, and were crushed by Mt. San Antonio 16-2.
Throughout each of the games, PCC looked fatigued, while their opponents were always fresh and ready. The Lancers only have eight players, with only six having been able to play, meaning Pasadena has no reserve players on the sideline.
“It’s not that they have more players than us, we just have less players than them,” Head coach Terry Stoddard said jokingly. “Most teams have two groups of six, and we only have one, so our girls get fatigued as the game drags on.
One glaring problem the team has faced this season is that only one player from last year returned to the program. The team’s lack of experience at a collegiate level has proved to be a major problem in 2018.
“We had some disappointments with some returning players dropping out at the last minute,” Stoddard said. “Everyone has their right to get an education first, and I honor and respect that. They can choose to do 18 credits instead of coming back for a second year.”
Despite all of her teammates leaving her alone, Yesenia Marin, now team captain, has embraced a leadership role for this young group.
“I love being a team leader to these girls,” Marin said. “I’ve known some of them since high school, so it has been real easy to bond. I love it when they come to me asking for help. I feel like these girls are my sisters.”
Even with a strong leader like Marin, the problems normally expected with a young new team are showing.
“We still have to work on our communication skills between each other,” Center Fernanda Alvarez said. “That’s our one big issue we have. We have to know who is guarding who, and who is supposed to be where.”
In light of the team not performing up to par and being short on players, the team skipped a tournament in order to get fresh and ready for their next conference game.
“We are going to watch game film when we practice,” Stoddard said. “We’ll work on how to control the flow of the game, and go over our offense and defensive tactics.”
Water polo plays their next conference game on Wednesday at 3 in Long Beach, and then play two more conference games on the road before playing here at PCC.