Water polo teams learn from adversity

Written by: Pristine Tompkin

Riverside City College men and women’s water polo teams finished tournament challenge with wins despite having their first losses of the season.

The women’s water polo team finished 7-1 after losing their first game on Sept. 18 when they faced San Diego Mesa College in the Chaffey Tournament.

The men finished 7-3 after losing against Cuesta College in the West Valley College Tournament Sept. 12, Diablo Valley College and Los Angeles Valley College in the Cuesta Tournament Sept. 18-19.

The women’s water polo team defeated the Ventura College Pirates, 15-7, on Sept. 19, goalkeeper Kayla Chang had 11 saves in the game. Offensive player Emily Martin and attacker Mary Myers each scored five goals with attacker Kelley Geurts scoring two goals as well.
Later that day, RCC defeated Fresno City College scoring nine straight goals in one stretch and went on to a 22-3 victory over the Rams.

The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season when they faced off against San Diego Mesa College on Sept. 18, losing 6-5.

Head coach Doug Finfrock spoke about the loss and how he wants his team to learn from every game they play.

“I think it is crucial with a young team to not only learn from every loss, but every victory,” Finfrock said, as he evaluated on the women’s one and only loss of the season against San Diego Mesa College.

Chang led the team with four saves despite the loss and acknowledges that adjustments can be made.  

“Our loss to San Diego Mesa has lit a fire within each and everyone of the girls on the team,” Chang said. “There are many improvements that can be made such as making sure we follow through with each shot and also working on anticipating the next move of our opponent.”

Tigers’ offensive player Martin and attacker Myers also contributed to the game. Martin led RCC with two goals while Myers clinched six steals.

Later in the Chaffey tournament the Tigers’ defeated Cerritos College, 21-7, to begin their four game winning streak.

Myers had five goals, Martin added four scores and frosh goalkeeper Adriana Olmos had ten saves in their last game of the Chaffey tournament.

The women were dominant as they have been in previous years when they faced Las Positas, defeating them, 20-2, on Sept. 12.

A total of 12 Tigers scored in the game, led by frosh Sarina Briseno and Sierra Venegas with two goals a piece.

Meanwhile the men’s water polo team defeated American River College on Sept. 19, 17-6, players Kyle Christian and freshman driver Lazar Raca each scored three goals and one assist to contribute to RCC’s scoring.

Center Jonah Saenz helped out with two goals and four steals. Goalkeeper Dustin Shaw had two saves and fellow freshman goalie Blake Vazmendes had three saves.

The men’s, 16-14 victory over West Valley College on Sept. 18 was led by freshman driver Raca with three goals and sophomore captain Justin Rohn with four steals.

Los Angeles Valley College defeated the Tigers, 15-11, as Raca had four goals and one assist while Rohn had two goals and one assist while drawing four opponent ejections as well.

Trevor Tripp is another sophomore captain who gave his input on what cost them their losses this season.

“In the losses so far, it was the little things that have made the difference” Tripp said. “The mental mistakes is what hurt us.”

The men’s water polo team previously finished third in the West Valley tournament from Sept. 11-12 at De Anza College.

Returners Tripp and Rohn were two of the key players that contributed to the Tigers’ wins.

In the, 10-9, loss to the Cougars, Christian led the Tigers in scoring with three goals and two assists, while fellow freshman driver Raca added a pair of goals.

Shaw had five saves while Vazmendes had three saves.

Men’s water polo head coach, Jason Northcott said that the depth of his men’s team is their biggest strength and that helped them to become victorious, although he expects his team to continue to train hard.