Season Preview: Women's Water Polo
By Stephen Morales
Of all the teams at East Los Angeles College, no team may have had to jump through as many hurdles as Women's Water Polo.
As with all of ELAC Athletics, they have to deal with the sports shutdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the pandemic also delayed already planned work on the swimming facility as needed materials lapsed on back-order. As a result, the team was left without a swimming pool to practice in, forced to wait nearly two months after most other teams in the area.
Nonetheless, fourth-year head coach Diana Romero was excited to finally welcome back her team.
"Reuniting with the team was a special one," acknowledges Romero. "We haven't seen each other for over a year and when we finally did, it was very exciting. We weren't able to get in the pool right away because of construction. When we finally did, it really felt real, and everyone was thrilled to be back. "
As she looks towards the start of the season, Romero acknowledged the difficulties in getting back into the pool. "Workouts in the beginning were challenging," says the coach. "We [were] behind some schools who have been practicing for almost two months. But everyone has been putting in the work. New athletes and returners are helping each other and growing as a team. Practices are very valuable because every day we work on something different and for many, it's new."
Coach Romero is excited about said mix of new and returning talent that will make up this year's team. First, on her returning players:
"Some of the returners that are coming back are huge assets to the team. One of them is Julyeth Mutuc. She is an all-around player where she can attack, guard, defend perimeter. Wherever I need her, she can get the job done. Another returner coming back has been another important person on our team and that is Vicky Zia-Lopez. She played water polo my first-year coaching and she came out just excited to play and do whatever she can to assist the team. She was a great team captain in the past and I'm excited to see what she brings this year. And another returner who I've seen grow as a person and player is Jasmine Morales. She came on as a swimmer, but she has one of the strongest shots on the team. She surprised many on how quickly she grasped the game of water polo and how her role has grown."
Next, her incoming freshmen:
"One newcomer I'd like to mention is another player who has been playing for a good while. Her name is Isabella Pizaña. She is another all-around player who can shoot the ball, guard, and continues to show her worth in the water. Melanie Estrada, [she] comes to us with experience from high school, who also is a good shooter and will help us a lot on defense."
Despite the late start and multiple setbacks, Coach Romero is ready for the season. "Although we started a little later in the water, I'm very excited to see this group of young women come together and play as a team," she exclaims. "They are gathering their strengths and seeing where they can contribute as well as finding out what their role is. Every role is important on this team, and each and every one of them brings something unique and beneficial. "
ELAC Women's Water Polo Key Schedule Dates
First Game: Wednesday September 15th against Mt. Sac at 3pm
Goldenwest Tournament: September 24th-25th
Citrus College Tournament: October 15th-16th
Rio Hondo Mini Tourney: October 29th
SCC Tournament at PCC: November 5th-6th
The Huskies' community looks forward to seeing the team back in the pool and cheering them on this season! However, we are not allowing fans at our indoor sporting events at this time.
Instead, tune into SportsNetUSA.net who will stream all ELAC Water Polo home games this season!