The Sonoma State women’s water polo team practices year-round in preparation for their league games in the spring. The Seawolves are a member of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). Here they compete against other NCAA Division 2 opponents such as Cal State Monterey Bay, University of California San Diego (UCSD), Fresno Pacific University and other programs. Water Polo requires many unique skills since it is played in a pool. A player must be skilled in swimming in order to move around the pool fast and play offense and defense.
The athlete must have a great amount of upper and lower body strength because the players do not get to touch the bottom of the pool meaning that one must tread water the whole game. Water Polo is a very physical sport so strength is vital. The referees cannot see what is going on under the water so often times players will get away with being overly aggressive towards opponents.
The rules of Water Polo are very unique. Each team gets six field players and one goalie. The field players are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool. Each player cannot touch the ball with both hands when handling it. The goalie is the only player allowed to use both hands to save and handle the ball.
In game fouls are actually called “ejections”. In game, if you get three ejections it is possible to get majored meaning that you can no longer participate for the rest of the game.
The 2018 season for the Seawolves was not an easy one.
The team ended up finishing 8-19. When talking to Senior Taylor Brooks, she described the season saying, “Last year was a very difficult season for us.” The team often found themselves competing against Division 1 teams last year.
They competed against these teams because they found it very hard to find competition within their league games. Playing many top-tier programs did not help their record but it made the team better in the long-run. The team ended up finishing in third place in the WWPA's behind Cal State East Bay and UCSD.
With a new season right around the corner the team has main goals in mind but most importantly they plan on making it to the league championship game.
Brooks described the team's aspiration when she said, “Aside from making it to the championship game, we want to have fun and build a team that knows how to work together.” With a new class of freshman planning to positively affect the team, the spring season is shaping up to be tremendous for the program.
The squad practices roughly 20 hours a week. They spend their time lifting three times a week, and conditioning and scrimmaging in the pool every day. The team starts the day with a 6:30 A.M workout each day. The team then meets for weight training in the afternoon following a practice directly after.
For most, this practice schedule seems very hard but the team shows up each day wanting to compete. They plan to reach their goal by “challenging one another so we get better and we are prepared for whatever teams we are playing” said Brooks.
The teams fall scrimmages will take place next week on November 10 at Santa Clara University. They will then travel out of state to Hawaii in late January for a tournament. The team will play their first home game of the spring against Santa Clara University on February 16.
Fans looking to watch the program compete in the spring can visit sonomaseawolves.com for more information.