Women's water polo prepares for regionals

By Jack Wickham

For such an uncommon sport, Macalester takes its water polo very seriously. After winning two games against the much larger University of Minnesota’s club team, the women’s water polo team took a spring break trip to California, America’s water polo capital, to play a series of matches against various Californian schools. With a 10-10 record, the Scots have progressed well throughout the season, and should be a relative threat when Mac hosts the upcoming Midwest Region Championships.The team looked fairly strong from the beginning, sweeping Minnesota in the Leonard Center’s Riley pool in March. In the first game, utility player Sarah Ellerton ’10 led the offensive effort with five goals, along with 2-meter player Bailey Gucinski ’12. Ellerton also held her own in the second game, racking up three goals, with the help of four more goals from 2-meter player Catherine Anderson ’12.

After going 1-3 in the Claremont Convergence tournament, the Scots stayed on the West Coast to continue a struggle at a subsequent 2-3 record. The most impressive game was a 3-2 overtime win against La Verne, where the team’s strong defense led the Scots to the win. Gucinski and Ellerton, who had a goal each, added ten steals between the two of them, and Macalester goalie Sofia Shaw ’09 stopped 22 of 24 shots.

After the California trip, the women returned to play in the Wheaton Mini-Invitational in Illinois. ended up going 1-2, only defeating Carthage College. During the Carthage Invitational, the pace was set with the first game, a match against Penn State-Behrend. Again led by Gucinski, with five goals, the Scots kept high energy throughout the game, beating the Lions 13-2. The women went on to go 4-2 in the tournament, including a 10-4 win against Wheaton College, who had beaten them 8-5 in Illinois.

While there are indeed standout players on the team, utility player Alex McClennan ’12 maintains that overall teamwork is a key to their successes.

“We have really good team work,” McClennan said. “It’s very well-rounded. Bailey and Sarah are two of the better shooters on the team, and Sophia is unstoppable, but that’s not to say that they carry the team. Everyone’s an equal contributor.”

As far as their style, the girls seem to work well under pressure. “There have definitely been times where we’ve come from behind,” McClennan said. “We’re more of a second half team.”

The only games left before the Midwestern Regional Championships, against the Carleton and University of Minnesota, were easy victories for the Scots, with 8-1 and 14-7 scores respectively. The Scots will start the Championships, which begin on April 17th, with a match against Colorado College, whom they beat 9-4 in the Carthage Invitational. The next game, against Wheaton College, will perhaps be one of the most exciting of the tournament, as the teams are 1-1 against each other.