SEASON PREVIEW: Water polo ready to hit the pool

Azin Vazirizadeh is practicing for her next water polo game at Pierce College Oct. 5, 2018, in Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo by Alex Moreno

After a rocky start playing two back-to-back games at the preseason Valley Tournament, the water polo team prepare for their season opener.

Unlike other fall sports at the Pierce, the water polo team typically begins practicing right when the semester starts, as opposed to starting in the summer.

Head Coach Judi Terhar beleives that this has been a usual problem she faces every year, but now they finally get the head start they needed for a successful season.

“We have had water polo here at Pierce for quite some time now, but when Moriah Van Norman became athletic director she immediately got us in a position to have a summer water polo program so we could be prepared for the season and we have never had that before,” Terhar said.

Terhar said that in previous years water polo would start their preparations would start when the semester begins.

“We typically start practicing when school starts and our first game is a week or two later which is impossible to even assemble a team, let alone start practicing and getting them in shape,” Terhar said.

Last year the team finished 0-7 with Stephanie Rodriguez and Kyrah Hunter leading the team with two goals. Lily Pang and Eline Evans both had one.

Terhar believes that implementing the summer practices has already has had positive effects all around.

“Because of the summer practice im very excited about this season, we have a more committed team,” Terhar said. “Students don’t miss a practice, they are here everyday and we are growing as a team together, and that is all I can ask for.”

Returning player and team captain Cassidy Hoffman has grown confident since the summer practices were implemented.

“In the summer we had practice for an hour and a half every night, and I think that’s how we got some of the girls on the team this season, and this made me really hopeful, especially for the new girls as it was a way to learn more about the sport before the season usually starts,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said that the new faces are committed and are excited to get started.

“Last year we had less players and even now we still don’t have a large team but we definitely have more players that are more enthused with the sport as compared to the previous season.”

Hoffman said that there is a different vibe in the program.

“Overall this year i feel a lot better with our team, Everyone is definitely more dedicated, everyone is showing up to practice, and through that we have had more productive practices,” Hoffman said. “We are all working a lot harder during our practices so that everything goes smoothly for our next game.”

Van Norman believes that the team has a solid foundation for its upcoming season.

“I’m excited about the season, I think that coach Judi do a great job of building the whole student not just a water polo player,” Van Norman said. “I think it’s really important that were all mindful that as educators that we are helping students along their journey wherever that journey is and water polo is one part of that.”

The water polo team will have their first game on Oct. 10 at Citrus College against the Owls.

They will be hosting the Santa Monica College Corsairs on Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. It will be their only home game this year.