Women's Water Polo, Can They Stay Afloat?

The game had barely ended when the water's surface became calm, quiet, and ready for lap swimming.  But just moments before, the surface of the pool boiled as the Santa Monica women’s water polo team fought against LA Valley in the first game of the season on Wednesday, Sept 14, at SMC.

The more experienced LA Valley team was too much to handle for the fledgeling SMC team, who lost 19-3 in the first game of the Fall 2016 season.

The team, which only had a two week preseason before the game, hasn’t had much of a chance to get into a groove yet.

“It’s a hard start for the season.  This is a completely new team, and some of the girls don’t even have water polo experience,” said Coach Lysandra Carter after her first game as head coach.

The small size of the team only adds to the problem. “This was our first game and we never get to scrimmage like other teams.  We don’t have enough girls to scrimmage,” said Carter.  For many of the players on the team, this game was their first real playing experience.

The inexperience of the players became increasingly apparent as the Corsairs were only able to score one goal against LA Valley before the clock hit half time.

“I’m the only returning player, and there’s only 3 out of 7 of us that have played before,” team captain Virginia Gustafson said.

But the Corsairs didn’t let up even as the lead got farther and farther, and pulled it together after half time.  “The first half vs the second half you could totally see the difference.  That’s where we started to set up and pass the ball and that’s where we got our shots from,” said Gustafson, who scored two points in the second half of the game but remained modest, crediting Coach Carter for those points.

Anybody looking at the scoreboard would only see defeat, but the team didn’t seem to think so.

“This is just the start.  They finally got a taste of what water polo is all about. Now that they have an idea they’ll be able to progress a lot better,” said Coach Carter, who treated the results of this first game as an obligatory stepping stone for her new team.

Gustafson shared similar feelings.  “We played a lot better than we hoped.  I couldn’t ask for more for a first game,” she said.

Fresh off their first defeat, the team looks forward to the rest of their season with unflinching optimism.

Women’s Water Polo takes on Pasadena City College at El Camino this Friday, September 16th, at 1:00pm.