STATE CHAMPIONS!

Riverside Community College women’s water polo season was a success this year. They went 35-1 this season and brought home the championship. Riverside beat out Long Beach to win the championship on Nov. 19. “The girls did what they have been doing all year.

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By Karla Velazquez

By Karla Velazquez

Riverside Community College women’s water polo season was a success this year. They went 35-1 this season and brought home the championship.

Riverside beat out Long Beach to win the championship on Nov. 19.

“The girls did what they have been doing all year. They found a way to win a close game,” said coach Dave Almquist.

“No matter what happened, we played hard and were determined to win it,” he said.

“We were really pumped and the girls played great. We were there to win and we did. We are a solid team. They are the most unselfish girls I have ever coached,” Almquist said.

“We are losing seven girls but are recruiting about five or six strong girls for next season. I am very excited,” Almquist replied in his anticipation for next season.

Sophomore, Cydney Owen said, “I was so nervous going into the game, but I was also some what confident.”

“It was amazing to be there, it was our goal all season. I am going to miss the team so much. We got along so well. We had fun practices but we were still able to be focused.”

Owen will be moving on to Cal Baptist next year to finish her education, as well as joining its team.

Team defense leader, Dana Van Gorder, is another member of the team that is leaving Riverside and is heading to Cal State Northridge.

“I had never been so nervous about going into a game before,” Van Gorder said about the championship game.

“We were prepared as a team; we came together and played great. We won as a team, no player was the star. I mean, we were down together and rose together. The weaknesses of one is the strength of another. We mesh really well.” Van Gorder said.

“Coach Almquist is unbelievable. He never lost his edge and knew exactly what to say to keep us in the game.” Van Gorder said.

“I definitely had fun and would not trade it for anything. I would not change a single aspect of our whole season. Over all it was amazing,” she said.

RCC sophomore Corrie Stuursma responded in retrospect to the game.

“It was really exciting but nerve-wrecking at the same time. I was confident about winning. But it was state and anything could happen,” Stuursma said.

“Throughout the season we continued to get better and it was our time to show it. This last game was the best one we ever played. It was so unexpected for me when they announced that I had made all-state.”

“It was very emotional to be named to the all-state team, I was still getting over the victory we had,” she said regarding her place in the all-state team along with teammate Layla Bahzadian.

Sophomore Jennifer Laumea, junior offense team leader, was named Most Valuable Player of the finals.

“It was pretty awesome, the game was great. It got a little shaky but we pulled through. We had a great season and I am saddened by leaving. The best part was looking at the faces filled with excitement of my teammates after our win. It was great,” Laumea said.Almquist was also rewarded, being named Coach of the Year.

“Coach Almquist is the best coach I have ever had. I learned more from him in two years than I did in my four years of high school. He is awesome to get along with, being able to talk to him freely, but yet also treat him with respect. With out him, I think we would not have made it to state. I love Almquist,” Stuursma said.

This year’s team was the first women’s water polo team to win all the tournaments they entered. Riverside has had a great season and expects a great one next year.

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