Lucinda Mattews | Staff Writer
With four wins under its belt the RCC women’s water polo team is ready for their first season without Riverside Hall of Fame coach David Almquist. The teams first games took place in Sacramento at American River College.
Their expectations for the season are to keep the winning tradition going.
They have a young team this year with five sophomores and with a third of the team being freshmen there are going to be “growing pains” throughout the season says head coach Doug Finfrock, but there expectations is still to be the fastest in the state.
Sophomore standout Megan Geurts is returning.
She played really well last year, leading the team in scoring.
They also have three really good freshman players, Nikki Bell from King High school may become one of the top players in the state this year.
Alia McMorris who is also from King High School playing center and last but not least Melissa Woody who is out of Temescal Canyon High school.
Last year the team advanced to the championship game, but fell short in a heartbreaker to Golden West.
The tigers came out strong taking an early 3-0 lead against Golden West and by intermission Riverside led 5-3 at halftime. However, in the second half the Tigers struggled on both ends of the pool and were out scored 5-0.
At the time Almquist was the head coach for the championship loss, but has since then retired with Doug Finfrock taking over as head coach.
Finfrock played for Almquist in high school and in college then came to coach for him for the past 10 years and after doing that Finfrock feels ready for this role.
“I really think he helped prepare me for this roll, but I miss him as a friend and being here,” Finfrock admitted, “Almquist will be missed but the program will not suffer that he’s not here.” Finfrock said.
Last season the team had good strong work ethics, great leadership, and a big group of sophomores who went through it that want to show the freshman what they should expect with the upcoming season.
The team has not had a chance to practice in about four weeks so they were itching to play some games.
The first game was weekend in Sacramento where they played four games from Sept. 13 and 14.
On both days the team competed against northern California teams.
Against American River the Tigers were deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of the first quarter, but the tigers center McMorris had two natural goals to put RCC up by three going into the third quarter. The tigers scored five more before the game ended coming out on top with an 8-3 win overall.
The girls had a blast traveling to the tournament and winning. The Tigers went 4-0 on the weekend, outscoring their opponents 63-16 in four games with the hopes of build team chemistry.
The outcome doesn’t do anything for rankings good or bad for the Southern California region. Winning all the games is good, but a loss doesnt hurt the teams moral.
“This tournament is more for the team bond,” Finfrock said. “They spend hours in the van with teammates riding all the way up to the games stay at a hotel with each other they seems to get a lot closer and a lot of friendships come out of it.”
The Tigers will play in the Chaffey tournament on September 20 and 21.