Athenas Make Waves in Tournament, Pick Up Two Wins

With only 26 seconds remaining on the clock, the energy in the pool was
electric as attacker Jess Gaffney CM ’18 twisted her arm back and let the ball rip
across the water, firing it into the back of the net to score the winning goal for
the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s water polo team (3-11) against George
Washington University (10-9).

The Athenas
played in the Convergence Tournament March 6 and 7, which was largely comprised
of Division I competition. Throughout the weekend, CMS squared off against the
University of California, San Diego (11-13), George Washington, California
State Monterey Bay (6-11) and the California Institute of Technology (0-5).

“Playing
against Division I teams is definitely a challenge,” attacker Claire Baxter CM ’18 said. “It definitely helps us
as it pushes us to get better, and while it’s never fun to lose by a lot, it is
definitely a good learning experience and opportunity. The game against UCSD
was a tough loss and we probably could have won it, but we weren’t playing up
to par; it was the first game of the day and we were still figuring out how to
play, chemistry-wise.”

Despite this tough 14-3 loss to the Tritons, the Athenas held their heads high and
picked up a win in their game later on that day.

Gaffney played particularly well in the tournament, leading her team to victory over George Washington with four goals, including the game’s winning goal. 

“I think one thing we did really well in the
George Washington game was that we had a lot of effort,” Gaffney said. “We
were really motivated to win and had a very positive mindset. A lot of water
polo is mental and as with any sport, having a bad attitude can really turn a
game around.”

Winning
against a DI team was a huge confidence booster for the team.

“If we want
to win the championship or have a hope of winning SCIAC, we have to beat a Division I team first,” Gaffney said.

Drawing
upon this high, the rest of the weekend had mixed results, with an 8-7 loss
against Cal State Monterey Bay and then a 16-5 win against Caltech. As they look forward to the rest of the season, however, the Athenas are putting their best
foot forward and looking forward to what is in store.

While skills are constantly focused on in practices, both
Gaffney and Baxter said that team chemistry is something that the team is looking
to improve upon.

“Something
we need to work on a little more is everyday bringing the intensity, no matter
who we are playing, and everyone bringing their whole heart and putting everything
on the line for the team,” Gaffney said.

The Athenas take to the pool again March 14 with two games against Iona University (8-8) and
Fresno Pacific University (5-13) in the Lancer Invite at California Baptist
University.

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