Water polo hits So Cal

By Josh Springer

[img_assistfid=265thumb=1alt=Elena Bulat ’07]The Macalester womenƒ?TMs water polo team spent their Spring Break in Southern California, during which the region suffered unusually cold weather conditions for the early season. Instead of warm sun and sandy beaches, the team was forced to avoid hail and a steady stream of rainy days. Unfortunately, the teamƒ?TMs tournament play mirrored the poor weather.

The team left the midwest promptly in order to arrive on time for the Cal State-San Bernardino Tournament, which started on March 11. The women later competed in the Cal State-Northridge Mini-Tournament from March 15 through 19 as well. Mac played highly competitive teams in the likes of nationally ranked University of the Redlands, Occidental, Chapman, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and the University of La Verne. All of these teams currently sit in the top 10 ranking as announced by the Collegiate Water Polo Association.

ƒ?oeIt was great to play against girls who know the game,ƒ?? said Heather Lendway ƒ?TM06. Lendway was late to California because she was racing the 1,650 yard freestyle at the Division III National Meet in Minneapolis.

Although the team would have liked to achieve more wins during their trip, the focus of the western venture was more directed towards building experience among young players and to further develop the teamƒ?TMs camaraderie.

ƒ?oeAny time the team travels it is a chance to get to know more about each other,ƒ?? said the teamƒ?TMs goalie Elena Bulat ƒ?TM07. Last year Bulat, a former regional player of the week from 2005, set the school record for most blocked shots in a season at 300. ƒ?oeEveryone progressed from the trip,ƒ?? said Bulat. ƒ?oeHaving the opportunity to play against really good teams is especially helpful for the younger players, even for me too.ƒ??

The team looks to dramatically improve its tarnished record as they return to the Heartland Conference where they will play more comparable teams, not just nationally ranked opponents.