The Sonoma State women's water polo team traveled to Hawaii last week to compete in a tournament against some of the best programs in the country. The team flew into Oahu on Jan, 16 with the Seawolves bringing twelve athletes on their journey to the University of Hawaii.
Throughout the weekend they played three well-respected opponents, San Diego State University, University of Hawaii and Marist College.
Since the Seawolves arrived on Wednesday, they had a great amount of time to bond outside the pool before the tournament began on Saturday. The girls spent the majority of their week doing team activities such as swimming at numerous beaches, hiking and even visiting the historical Dole Plantation.
When talking to Senior Captain Kelly Failner, she described the relaxing days leading up to the tournament. “We actually had a lot of free time, which was really nice.” The week was spent enjoying the states beautiful scenery and bonding with teammates.
Saturday rolled around and it was time for the team to compete. All tournament games were held on the University of Hawaii campus. The Seawolves started off with their first opponent, San Diego State University at 10:30 a.m.
They fought hard but ultimately lost 11-6 to the Aztecs. This would be their closest competition for the remainder of the weekend. The second game of the day was against the home team, the University of Hawaii. The game was extremely one sided with the final score being 16-2 in the Rainbow Warriors favor.
Sunday morning, Sonoma took on Marist University from New York. The team fought hard, but they were outplayed by their Division I opponent, eventually falling to Marist 14-3. The team then traveled home on Sunday leaving Hawaii with an 0-3 record.
The Seawolves compete at the NCAA Division II level but battled against three prestigious Division I opponents while in Hawaii. Despite their record on the weekend, there was a sense of growth throughout the team.
When talking to Failner she explained, “It was cool because this was our first set of games where we all played together as our new team this year”.
This tournament was so meaningful to the team's growth because these games jump-started what could be a historical season. This is very important for the squad because of how young their roster truly is, meaning that they will look to some younger girls to contribute this year. The team saw this as a learning experience and plan to grow and prosper from this lesson.
Failner described the teams plans to succeed in the future when stating, “We learned that we definitely need to swim more and work on pressure passing, it’s the little things.”
Both these skills and more can bring them great success as they begin their 2019 campaign. Failner has high hopes for her team. As a four year player she has seen what it takes to compete at a high level.
She is positive about the season when stating, “We are going to do well this season,” she said.
The program will play their first game of the season on Feb. 16 against the Santa Clara Broncos. The opponent is actually NCAA Division I. In the 2018 season, the team lost to the Broncos but are hoping to come out victorious in the home opener. To support the team or stay updated with future games visit sonomaseawolves.com