With an 0-6 start to 2017, the Panthers’ water polo players have just dipped their feet in as they learn to overcome the season’s hurdles.
Taking each match as a learning experience, the Panthers are aiming their focus toward what they need to work on individually and as a team, according to coach Steve Hanson. Each player has a different skill set, but this year’s squad faces greater challenges, including women with little prior experience learning to cope with stress, frustration, and the overall mechanics of water polo.
“We’re still pretty inexperienced,” said Hanson. “We’re still kind of trying to find our way, and not only just with our own skills, but also with roles on the team. People who do have experience, need to step up a role that maybe they didn’t have to do before.”
City College’s swimming facility sets the team at a disadvantage, according to Hanson. In community college competition, the standard length of a water polo pool is 25 meters. City’s measures 22 meters, challenging each player to adjust between practices and matches. Hoos Pool also has shallow waters, unlike a standard water polo pool.
“Things you can get away with in a small pool, you don’t when we start playing at a regular competitive size of 25 meters,” said Hanson. “This pool is shallow. We don’t play in shallow water, so there are people who get to rest down here and balance on the bottom, so when you play all deep, it’s more of a workout.”
Freshman Amaya Palmer, a utility player with four goals, four blocks and a shooting percentage of 44.4 percent, is projected to be a factor in helping this team earn some wins, according to Hanson. Second-year player Geneva Speakman is making a name for herself and continues to improve her skills as a goalkeeper.
San Joaquin Delta (1-0) and Sierra College (2-0) are considered two of the best teams in the Big 8 Conference. Hanson is optimistic his team’s players will start to thrive as they learn from their weaknesses and use each practice and loss as an opportunity to grow as a team.
“I think Sierra, along with (San Joaquin) Delta College are the two best teams in our conference,” said Hanson. “Having (Diablo Valley College in) our very first game was one of those that I really wish we could get back a little bit, just to see with a little bit more seasoning if we would have been able to handle that game a little bit better.”
Looking for their first conference win this season, City College will face Santa Rosa at home Sept. 27 at 2:30 p.m.
For more information about SCC women’s water polo, visit sccpanthers.losrios.edu/sports/wwaterpolo.