CLAREMONT, Calif. – The 2018 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo season is quickly approaching with the first matches of the season less than a week away when the Athenas travel to Riverside, Calif. to take on Loyola Marymount and Azusa Pacific on Jan. 27. CMS will then take a week off before hosting their first game of the season against Carthage on Feb. 3 at 1:00 p.m. in Axelrood Pool.
See below for a quick preview of the upcoming season:
A Look Back
Last season the Athenas finished 11-20 overall and 5-6 in SCIAC play. After a 3-5 SCIAC record during the regular season the Athenas battled the Cal Lutheran Regals to overtime in the opening round of the SCIAC Tournament. Cal Lutheran edged CMS 9-8 in that contest, but the Athenas rebounded with victories over Ocidental (15-10) and Chapman (13-11) to claim fifth place in the SCIAC.
For their efforts, Roxy Kiessling (CMC) and Jessica Gaffney (CMC) were named All-SCIAC. Kiessling earned First Team accolades after leading the SCIAC with 18 goals in conference play and Gaffney was named Second Team after scoring 16 goals and adding eight assists in conference games.
In addition to their All-SCIAC honors, both Kiessling and Gaffney were named All-Americans by Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) last season. Kiessling was named Second Team and Gaffney was an Honorable Mention.
In the Pool
The Athenas lost two seniors to graduation with Shannon Golden (CMC) and Ellen Perfect (CMC) wrapping up their careers. As a result, 11 Athenas are back for the 2018 season. Combine that group with five freshman and you have the roster for this year's squad.
Both Kiessling and Gaffney are back for their senior campaigns. The duo combined for 99 goals last season. Kiessling tallied 51 times while Gaffney was right behind her with 48 goals on the season. As mentioned, Kiessling was tied atop the SCIAC with 18 goals in conference.
Aracelia Aldrete (CMC) joins Kiessling and Gaffney as another dynamic offensive threat for the Athenas. In her first season in Claremont last year, Aldrete tallied 31 total goals including nine in SCIAC play to finish third on the team in both categories.
Claire Baxter (CMC) is back for her senior year after scoring six goals and dished out nine assists during SCIAC play last season. Juniors Kaitlyn Eng (HMC) and Amma Choy (CMC) are also back for the 2018 slate. Last season the duo combined for 29 total assists with Eng handing out 16 helpers and Choy assisting on 13 goals. Look for Baxter, Eng, and Choy to add some experience to this year's team.
As mentioned the Athenas welcome five freshman onto the roster. Expect the group to compete for time early in the season.
What to Watch For
As mentioned the Athenas begin the 2018 season next weekend with a trip to Riverside for a pair of matches against Loyola Marymount and Azusa Pacific. After a home match against Carthage, CMS will take three weeks off before their next competition. A trip to Thousand Oaks will feature matches against Fresno Pacific and a re-match with Azusa Pacific.
The big weekend to circle on the calendar is the Convergence Tournament that will happen on the first weekend of March. CMS will host a full slate of matches on Mar. 2-3 with the Athenas in action against Villanova, Concordia, UC San Diego, and Cal St. Monterey Bay across the two days.
The Athenas will be hosting the SCIAC matches against Caltech (Feb. 28), La Verne (Mar. 10), Occidental (Mar. 15), Cal Lutheran (Mar. 24), Whittier (Mar. 28), Pomona-Pitzer (Apr. 4), and Redlands (Apr. 14). A trip to Cal Lutheran will wrap up the regular season on Apr. 21 before the SCIAC Tournament takes place on Apr. 27 and 29.
On the Deck
Greg Lonzo enters his 11th season at the helm of the Athenas for the 2018 season. Lonzo has led the Athenas to an overall record of 126-160 during his tenure, including a 64-40 mark in the SCIAC. In addition to coaching the Athenas, Lonzo leads the men's water polo team and across 21 season holds a career record of 290-324.
2018 SCIAC Women's Water Polo Preseason Poll
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
1. Pomona-Pitzer (9) - 81 points
2. Whittier - 60 points
3. Cal Lutheran - 58 points
4. CMS - 57 points
5. Chapman - 50 points
6. Redlands - 36 points
7. La Verne – 36 points
8. Occidental - 18 points
9. Caltech – 9 points