The women’s water polo team left a name for itself in Southern California as the Seawolves came out victorious in four of their five games, including three from the Convergence Tournament in Claremont.
In preparation for the big weekend, the women spent time perfecting their game and conditioning to stay in shape for the five games ahead of them.
“We spent the past week practicing new defenses and staying healthy so we could play in top shape for our games,” said junior Noelle Herrera.
It all seemed to pay off as Sonoma State started the weekend off on Friday, grabbing two wins against Cal Lutheran, 13-5 and La Verne, 12-7. Though nobody scored more than two goals in either game, every player snagged at least one point.
“The win against Cal Lutheran definitely pumped us up for the rest of the weekend,” said senior Nicole Browning. “It’s hard to come back and play more games after a loss in tournaments and coming in strong felt great.”
Immediately after their first win against Cal Lutheran, the women were back in the pool to face off against La Verne. Despite being down after the first quarter, the Seawolves bounced back to grab nine points in the second and third quarters and two more in the last eight minutes to solidify their win.
Senior Alexa May, junior Shannon Bear, Browning and Herrera all had two goals apiece against La Verne while four other Seawolves added a goal.
“I definitely think winning both games on Friday was an immense asset to our motivation and confidence going into Saturday’s games,” said May. “Winning games in general is a big self-esteem booster, especially coming off a couple tough losses.”
Day two of the Convergence Tournament seemed to start as an extension of day one as Sonoma State came out victorious over Redlands University, 12-6.
Herrera gave the Seawolves the early lead, scoring her first of four goals of the game within a minute of the match. Though the Bulldogs matched Sonoma State goal three minutes later, the Seawolves answered back with five goals in the second quarter.
Senior goalkeeper Andrea Mallul made six saves in the three quarters she played while Herrera shot a perfect game, making all five of her five attempts. Junior attacker Kaysie Lewis scored three as her teammate, freshman Lily Carlon, added two goals.
For the second game of day two, the Seawolves saw their first and only loss against Whittier College, 11-10, who they were unable to beat earlier in the season.
In interviews with the STAR, Browning, Herrera and May all agreed that Whittier was their hardest opponent of the weekend.
“They had a different offensive strategy than our other opponents and we had to adjust our playing more with them than other teams,” said Herrera.
Though the Seawolves went down early in the match, three seniors helped take the lead, scoring three consecutive goals as Sonoma State eventually went into halftime leading by three. The last two quarters went back and forth; a winner was uncertain until the last seconds of the game.
With just under 30 seconds left in the match, Whittier College took the lead and ended the game, defeating the Seawolves for the second time this season.
Despite the loss, Lewis scored another three goals in game two and Mallul made nine saves.
The Seawolves ended the tournament with three wins and one loss before heading to Irvine to face off against Concordia University.
“We are going to finish this weekend with a win,” said May, in response to being asked about their mentality going into their final game of the weekend. “We came into the whole weekend with our goal being to go five for five, so after losing a super close game there was no other thought than going home with another win.”
And that’s exactly what May and her teammates did against the Eagles, winning by 10 points, 17-7.
Even though Concordia took the early lead, scoring the first goal of the game, Sonoma State answered back with seven consecutive goals into the second quarter.
Herrera added four more goals on the weekend and senior Megan McGrath contributed two. The goalkeepers made a total of 11 saves, nine for Mallul while freshman Mikayla Kloss saved two. Lewis’ seven points was one goal short of tying the program’s single-game record.
The Seawolves will host their first match of the season on Saturday against CSU Monterey Bay at noon.