On Sunday, Apr. 24, as the sun shone its last golden rays before dipping below the mountains, the University of Redlands’ pool serenely reflected the violet-pink streaks shooting across the sky. That is, until the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s water polo team (9-18, 6-5 SCIAC) jumped in to start warming up for their last game against California Lutheran University (13-19, 5-7 SCIAC).
“The team’s mindset going into this last game was to have fun and leave it all in the pool,” recalled Roxy Kiessling CM ’18. “We wanted to prove to ourselves that all the hard work we had put into the season was for a reason.”
And to prove it, they did—the Athenas never lost sight of their goal. They came out swinging, with Claire Baxter CM ’18 and Christine Hu CM ’18 finding the net to put CMS up by two. After CLU scored two of their own, Kiessling describes the team’s focus.
“We realized that we need to slow down the pace of the game and not get too excited if we were up in goals,” she said. “Instead of worrying about how close the game was, my teammates shouted out, ‘Let’s go,’ and we were able to use [that] positive attitude.”
Kiessling and Tess van Hulsen CM ’19 lifted the team to 4-2 before the Regals could slip by them again to score. In response, Hu blew past CLU’s goalkeeper, and Kiessling netted two more in the third quarter. Despite a valiant attempt by the Regals to catch up, van Hulsen and Kiessling kept them at bay. The game ended with a 9-7 victory for the Athenas to put them at fifth place in SCIAC.
“Every single player on the team contributed to the win and we really played as a team,” Kiessling commented, adding that the team was young and looked to improve even more next season. “It was a great way to end the season because it showed us that all of those small steps we took together during the season paid off, and it motivates us to work together even harder during the off season to maximize our team’s potential next year!”