The Whittier College Women’s Water Polo team has their sights on bringing home yet another championship for the Poets. On Saturday, Feb. 4, the team competed in two games at the Whittier Mini Tournament. Despite being defeated 13-8 in their game against California Baptist University (Cal Baptist), the Poets emerged victorious against Concordia University, out-soaring the Eagles 16-13.
This weekends games were the Poets’ first time playing at home this season. “Going into this weekend’s games, I was so excited to open up our home pool with some higher division games,” said senior goalie Katia Montoya. “It was really nice to see the stands fill up with purple and gold and it felt so good to be back playing at home. Seeing my team go up on Cal Baptist in the first half made me even more excited to see how far we can go this season. I was so proud that my team was able to put in the work in one week to come out stronger than we did in our first set of games.”
The Poets started out strong in their game against Cal Baptist, leading 4-3 in the first quarter, but were unable to keep up the momentum as Cal Baptist took an 8-7 lead. As the second half of the game rolled in, the Cal Baptist offense proved themselves tough through their aggression and strategy, gaining a three point lead in the third quarter. Capitalizing on Whittier’s defensive mistakes, Cal Baptist captured the win, ending the game 13-8.
The Whittier College Water Polo team has their hands full this season, competing against schools in higher divisions. “I think we could be doing a lot better,” said senior attacker Arlin De La Mora, referring to the game against Cal Baptist. “But it’s only the start of the season, so there’s still a lot to look forward to. We have a really good team with a lot of potential so I think we will do very well.”
The Poets did very well in their next game of the tournament against Concordia. The Poets once again started off strong, leading 3-2 in the first quarter. This time, the Poets were able to continue their advancing momentum, pushing their offense to score five goals, making the score an 8-5 lead going into the half. Keeping up a good fight against their opponent, the Poets gained the three points they needed in the fourth quarter, finalizing the game 16-13.
“We have had a rough start against higher division opponents,” said Montoya. “But it did not stop us from being hungry for a [win] and this weekend we were able to obtain it. My biggest expectation is for these girls to leave it all in the pool regardless of our opponent and show we are here to compete with the best.”
Despite their loss against Cal Baptist, the team has faith that they will finish the season with a positive record and become champions this season.
“Although we are only about three weeks in, I have high expectations for this team,” said Montoya. “I have seen [my team] perform their best and I personally know what I am capable of, therefore I am expecting all of us to put in the work to bring home another championship.”
The Whittier College Women’s Water Polo team has amazing chemistry in and out of the water.
“The feeling of being a part of this program is indescribable,” said Montoya. “They worked extremely hard every day of our last season and are now working even harder this season to be back-to-back champions. I could not be prouder to be part of this successful program. They set the bar really high. Every day, they inspire me to be the best athlete I can be.”
The Poets will continue facing Division I competition in their next game on Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. at home against the University of Hawaii.