Panthers in the pool; Women’s water polo eager for experience

City College water polo head coach Steve Hanson talks to the team during half time in the match against American River College at Hoos Pool on Oct. 19th. ©2016 Dianne Rose

Megan Swinney
Staff Writer
mswinney.express@gmail.com

 

The City College women’s water polo team dives into 2017 as underdogs with hopes of surpassing last year’s sole league win. The women on this season’s squad are optimistic, with hopes of improving throughout each match.

Coach Steve Hanson explained why this year’s roster faces some unique challenges when it comes to the team’s varied levels of experience.

“Last year’s team was a little more experienced, mature,” said Hanson. “We had three redshirt sophomores, so we had players that had been with us for three years, which is not very common, of course, and they were leading scorers three years prior.”

In the Sacramento City Unified School District, as well as in neighboring school districts such as Elk Grove, it’s harder for girls to be part of a water polo team, according to Hanson. Because of recent budget cuts and shared facilities, most high schools in these districts do not have a specific water polo team, usually just swim teams.

“None of these players are coming from high school programs that have a tremendous amount of success or continuity of coaches, so there’s a lot of teaching that happens,” said Hanson.

City College has a few returning players from last year’s roster who are also the team captains, including sophomores Julia Ng, Jessy Potch and Geneva Speakman. Although there are no returning All-League players from last year, these women are expected to provide various levels of talent that will help contribute to this year’s squad.

City College had not had a league win in nine years until 2016. A victory over Modesto Junior College last season ignited a competitive fire under the team, and it prepares to head to Modesto on Oct. 4 to put that ambition to the test.

“The team that we try to keep our eyes on would be Modesto,” said Hanson. “That’s the team we beat last year, so it would be really nice if we could do that again, in a way, kind of put that in our rear-view mirror as something that we always do as a trend.”

City College scrimmaged on Sept. 9 at home against Ohlone College. They will face Diablo Valley College in this season’s first Big 8 Conference game at home Sept. 13.

For more information about SCC women’s water polo, visit sccpanthers.losrios.edu/sports/wwaterpolo.