Women's waterpolo won't hold back in short season

By Jamie Macpherson

With one of the shortest seasons in the league, the women’s water polo team makes up for the shortage with intensity. The women spent spring break in a southern California tournament, playing nine games in one week, only to participate in another tournament a week later. The Scots are now preparing for the Midwest Regional Championship, which will take place in three weeks in Colorado Springs, Colo. The winner of the tournament goes straight to Nationals.While their record may be 3-11-1, the team is satisfied with their performance. “We’re on par with last year,” Head Coach Doug Jetton said. “We’re only one win shy.”

Jetton spoke well of his players, highlighting Claire Eder ’11, Jillian Benson ’11, and Aubrey Harding ’10 for their willingness to take on new challenges, as well as Sarah Ellerton ’10 and Sofia Shaw ’09 for their leadership.

“I feel like this year we’re playing a lot more cohesively,” goalkeeper Shaw said. She explains that with each year, the team gains more players with prior knowledge of the game, which grants more overall experience for the team. “We’re not the biggest team, but we don’t really give up in the water. we fight pretty hard.”

The Scots reflect on their past tournament with mixed feelings. Shaw pointed out that on the one hand, an advantage of the tournament was being able to get a feel for all the other teams they will be playing at regionals.

There was, however, a sense of disappointment in the Scots’ performance during the tournament. “Our first two games we weren’t playing up to our full potential,” Ellerton said. “We made silly mistakes, which led to them scoring on us.”

Her coach disagrees. Jetton stresses to his team the importance of playing well technically over simply playing to win the game, because he believes it will benefit his players in the long run. “All the games are learning opportunities,” Jetton said. “Yes, you can look at [losing] as a negative, but at the same time we tied one and won a game we needed not to lose.”

Looking ahead at the upcoming regional tournament, the Scots already know what they need to fix. “The biggest thing [to work on] is our offense,” Jetton said. “In games past, the players have a deer in the head lights approach [when they get the ball]. We’re going to have more set offensive plays because the more you can get the defense on their heels, the better off you’ll be.”

“We’re really good at shutting down [the other team],” Ellerton commented of her team’s performance. “But we need to work on staying in motion so we don’t get [closed in].”

Jetton agreed with the importance of movement during the game. “In water polo movement creates opportunities. Before we were in a mode of holding on to the ball and allowing the defense to press in on us – basically handing the opposing team. too many opportunities to score.”

But the Scots look ahead to the regional championship with confidence. “We’ve put ourselves in a position to win a few games,” Jetton said. “Our success is defined by whether or not we make Nationals.”

“We’ve improved so much this week,” Ellerton said. “More than the other teams thought we would. When we go [to play in the tournament], they’re not going to know what hit them.