Water Polo In Baby Steps During Early SCC Play

Jennifer Ortega fires in one of her two goals in Wednesday's home-opening loss v. Long Beach City College, photo by Richard Quinton.
Jennifer Ortega fires in one of her two goals in Wednesday's home-opening loss v. Long Beach City College, photo by Richard Quinton.

One look at Wednesday's 15-4 loss to first-place Long Beach City College would lead you to believe that the Pasadena City College women's water polo team is way behind the competition. But while the Lancers are 1-5 and 0-4 in South Coast Conference play, a different outlook is that the team has already showed signs of improvement that could lead to some success in the next few weeks.

Playing its first home game of the season, PCC had an impressive first quarter, taking a 1-0 lead and holding a surprising 1-1 tie v. the Vikings (9-3, 4-0). The teams were limited to five shots between them in the eight minutes. 

The second quarter proved to be all LBCC as it outscored the Lancers, 7-1, to take a commanding 8-2 halftime lead. The defensive breakdowns are something that have plagued PCC. However, Lancers head coach Terry Stoddard talked about the schedule and its effect on the season start.

"The way it works in the SCC is that the higher seeds from the year before are who you face first in conference dual play," Stoddard said. "That means we've already played against the four most difficult teams in the conference. We're still trying to get our best lineup together, and the freshmen are learning the college game. The first quarter against Long Beach was indicative of our potential in that we slowed them down and kept it close. We got through this hard part of our schedule and that experience against tough opponents could pay off in the second half of conference and in tournaments."

Jennifer Ortega scored two long-range goals in the first half, and Briana Santos added a goal and an assist in the second half. Zuri Pulido scored a third-period goal as PCC scored once in each quarter. Goalie Mariah York led the team with five steals to go with six saves. Camila Grasas played well defensively, adding a field block. 

On Sept. 20 at Mt. San Antonio, the Lancers lost 14-7. Santos scored four goals and Pulido added two. Yesenia Marin made four steals as did York. On Sept. 13, host Cerritos handed the Lancers a 16-3 loss. Santos had two goals and Marin one. After six games, Pulido leads Pasadena with 13 goals (and six assists) and Marin has 11 goals. Goalie York collected 24 steals to lead PCC in that category. 

PCC next plays four Northern California teams at the College of San Mateo tournament Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30. On Monday, PCC is back at the Aquatic Center for a 3 p.m. SCC game against Rio Hondo.