For the last few years, the Pasadena City College women's water polo team has been defined by its defense. The Lancers played many low-scoring games and had some of the program's lowest goals against averages in both 2016 and 2015. But in 2017, the Lancers' roster has shaped up to become one with better overall shooters as offense is going to be more of a premium.
In his 19th season in charge of the program, PCC head coach Terry Stoddard talked about the style change in his team for this season.
"In some of the previous years, we lacked having enough reliable scorers, so we built our team philosophy on protecting the defensive end of the pool," Stoddard said. "Our freshmen incoming class is talented especially at shooting and passing. So we are going to open things up more to try to get the most out of our offense. It's going to lead to a lot of high-scoring games."
The Lancers return All-South Coast Conference Second Team center forward Zuri Pulido, who led the team in scoring as a freshman with 42 goals. Top playmaker and conference honorable mention Christy Lam (utility player, 25 assists) also is back while attacker Sophia Woods begins her second season.
The PCC freshmen include Pasadena High phenom center forward Yesenia Marin and utility player Camila Grasas, who helped La Canada High to the Rio Hondo League title as an all-league second team selection. Attacker Jennifer Ortega (Monrovia High) and utility performer Marie Lee (Alpharetta HS, Georgia) also are newcomers. The team's goalie will be freshman Mariah York (Granada Hills Charter High).
On Wednesday, the Lancers opened the 2017 season with an 18-11, South Coast Conference defeat at Chaffey College. It was the highest combined scoring game (29 goals) in a PCC match since 2014 and the most goals allowed by a PCC team since that season. Pulido scored four goals and added two assists, Marin was a perfect 3-for-3 on her shots for the hat trick (and two steals), and Grasas also scored three goals and had one field block. Lee scored her first collegiate goal. Lam and Woods recorded two assists each. Pasadena's power play, expected to be a strength this season, did well in the opener at 4-for-7 (57.1 percent).
On Saturday, Sept. 9, PCC will play two round robin games as part of the Los Angeles Valley College Tournament. The Lancers play an 8:30 a.m. contest against Santa Ana and follow that with a 12:15 p.m. game versus San Diego Miramar.