The No. 2 ranked California Lutheran University’s women’s water polo team picked up another win March 8, defeating their Division I opponent St. Francis in the Samuelson Aquatics Center. The Regals defeated St. Francis by a final score of 7-6. The team is now 2-0 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
This was Rond’s 200th women’s water polo victory at Cal Lutheran. It was also the first Division I team the Regals beat this season.
Junior Nicole Roed led the team to victory with four goals in the game. Senior Kristi McGee, sophomore Victoria Rose-Meek and sophomore Christin Hirn each scored one goal apiece as well. Juniors Nicole Guerriero, Megan Seeman and McGee all had one assist.
Defensively, senior Bailey Meyer saved five goals. Seeman had three steals, while Hirn and Roed added two. This defense held St. Francis to single-digit scoring numbers.
“We did a really good job on defense in today’s game. We had a scouting report and did a pretty good job of following that report and taking out one of their key shooters. I think that really helped us counter on offense and prevent those goals from going in,” Rose-Meek said.
Head Coach Craig Rond said the plan before jumping into the game was to maintain a strong defense. St. Francis has talented shooters, one of the girls is on the Greek National Team and is scoring 6-10 goals per game. The Regals knew if they used a double-team to cover her, it was going to be challenging for St. Francis to take the lead.
The Regals had a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Rond continuously encouraged the team to stay wide and be willing to attack early.
The team fought hard in the third and fourth quarter as the score remained close at the end of the second period with Cal Lutheran in the lead 3-2. The scoring went back and forth throughout the third quarter and ended 4-3.
In the final two minutes of the game, both Cal Lutheran and St. Francis scored a goal. The final score was 7-6 where the Regals shut down the game.
“My favorite part about coaching water polo are the athletes. I love every one of them. It’s so rewarding to see them strive for great goals and the friendships they make all over the country and even the world,” Rond said.
Both Roed and Rose-Meek said that this team is the best program and group of girls they have been a part of. They said everyone is well bonded and gets along great in and out of the pool.
“We have a lot of team events and that really shows in the pool because we are a very cohesive unit when we play,” Rose-Meek said.
The Regals are quickly ramping up for SCIAC, with two wins under their belt and 12 more games ahead.
“All season, we have been talking about keeping our head focused for all four quarters. Lately we have been doing a lot of shooting drills, because the more shots you take, the more goals are going to go in,” Roed said.
Rond said the team is looking forward to getting better each day. They are encouraged daily to ask themselves if they are better than the last time they were in the pool. This mentality is what will hopefully drive the team to success in SCIAC.
The Regals will continue SCIAC with a home game against University of La Verne Tuesday, March 14 at 4 p.m.