Tigers finish regular season 26-1

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By Celeste Walter

Swimtastic (Martin Iniguez Jr.)

By Celeste Walter

The Tigers Claim their 23rd straight victory, by defeating the Aquatics seven to one.

Riverside City College Women’s Water Polo celebrated 26th win of the 27 games they played this season.

The Oct. 30 game against Lancer Aquatic, Cal Baptist University’s club team, was held at the Sippy Woodhead pool located in the Cesar Chavez Complex in Riverside.

The RCC team has pushed forward to reach number one in the state with 23 consecutive wins this season.

Coach David Almquist felt the success of the team was rooted in the players’ combined team effort.

“Defensively it was the best we’ve played so far,” he said. He credited strong defensive awareness as a key to the teams success.

The team excelled in both its offensive and defensive efforts, according to Almquist. He said the team’s defensive leaders, Ashley DeJonckheere and Kanann Merritt “played a great game.” “Defense was the key to the whole game,” he said.

Almquist identified offense player Tania Acevedo as the best framer. “I was really impressed with how she played,” he said. “She was in on six of our seven sets.” Almquist said.

According to the coach, the team is ready to move forward.

“Conference is the weekend after this one and we play the winner of the four-five teams which are Saddleback v. Orange Coast in the semi-finals then we will play the winner of the Fullerton match in the finals.” Almquist said.

Although the team is first in the state, Coach Almquist noted that the win against Fullerton was by three goals in their pool.

“I know it is going to be a challenge for us but the way we are playing now is positive,” Almquist said. “We need to win so we can maintain a good seating for the regional.”

Almquist felt the leading factor to the teams overall success wasn’t as much talent as it was team effort.

“They’re not afraid to give up the ball on a fast break to someone else,” he said. “They always come back and double team on defense, they give a good effort in practice.”

“Everyone has learned their roles and they are happy with them,” Almquist said. “They played most of the second half because we were ahead and they were playing well.”

He felt the team was fully assuming their roles and taking pride in knowing it doesn’t matter who scores.

“We’ve won a lot of close games,” he said. “We won five games with less than two goals.”

Acevedo made the list of top Statewide Field Players for 2008 with 78 goals, 32 assists and 52 steals prior to their game with California Baptist University.

“We have conference next week, that’s the big game for us.” Acevedo said.

“Last year we were blowing everyone out of the water, but this year competition is stiffer,” she said. “It should be a good tournament, hopefully we will end up on top.”

The team’s ability to bond both in and out of the water “definitely has helped us win some of those close matches,” Acevado said.

DeJonckheere also led the state in scoring with 39 goals, 54 assists and 99 steals.

She attributed the team’s overall success to the their ability to work well together.

“We were solid on defense,” DeJonckheere said. “We kept hammering on the offense, putting up goals and passing.”

In addition to great team work, DeJonckheere attributed the teams success to the dedication.

“We have solid coaches who care a lot and girls who care a lot,” she said. “We all put in a good effort.

DeJonckheere noted that the team would be going to conference finals in a week and the remaining time would be used to prepare for the event.

She is hopeful that their continued efforts will earn these focused players the ring signifying their success.

“I know the girls do also, hopefully we will succeed.” DeJonckheere said.

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