After a long, sunny weekend at Whittier College’s Mini Tournament, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s water polo team went 1-1 on Saturday, Feb. 6. The team finished strong in the first game, beating Concordia University 9-5 in the morning. Concordia’s women’s water polo team is Division II, so the win was an impressive success for CMS as a Division III sports program.
The team was particularly proud of the win because it was their season opener, and it showed promise for the rest of the year. “Towards the beginning, I think we were pretty neck and neck,” said Haley Gibbs SC '19 of the pace of the first game against Concordia. “Halfway through, we gained some confidence, and I think we went out a little bit stronger. At some point, we told ourselves, ‘we can do this,’ and we did!”
The team felt great after the first game, so they treated themselves out to lunch because they had several hours before their second game that evening. But while they started out fairly evenly matched against the Division II Azusa Pacific University, the long day proved tiring for CMS, and they ended up losing 10-3. It was clear that the Athenas' energy had been put into the win in the first game, and they grew fatigued as the second half approached late that evening against APU.
“We came out really well, but I think we just got tired,” Gibbs reflected. “As turnovers increased, they scored more, and we lost. When we get tired we don't take care of the ball as well, and then the other team steals it more, and they get more goals.”
In addition, several CMS players commented on Azusa Pacific's aggressive tactics, which made the game even tougher.
Despite the tough loss, the team remained in good spirits for the rest of the weekend. They recently had a meeting to discuss goals for the year and decided that one of their biggest objectives is to stay together as a team. They try not to focus on winning as much as on improving as a cohesive team. They are a young group, which means they have a lot of potential in the years to come. There is only one senior on the team, amongst many first-years and sophomores, so many of them will have at least two more years together.
The season home opener will be against University of Hawaii on Feb. 25 at 7pm. The University of Hawaii is historically a very strong team, so CMS is prepping for an intense match. Hopefully, the team can travel to Hawaii to play in some games next season. On Feb. 27, they will also play Whittier, one of CMS’s biggest rivals.