The CMS Athenas Water Polo team has had an exciting season thus far given their fresh talent and enthusiasm. I sat down with Ellen Perfect ’17 to discuss team strategy, dynamics and traditions.
The team is currently on a three-game winning streak! How has the season progressed thus far and how do you plan to maintain this record?
We had a rocky start to the season. We are a young team and we have suffered many injuries which has affected our development, but we have found our rhythm. To maintain that, we hope to keep up team morale and the excitement of playing together.
The game against Occidental was close. Is there anything that the team does in terms of strategy when you are neck-and-neck with your opponents?
Our team is pretty good with keeping our heads up. I don’t think the possibility that we were going to lose crossed our minds during the game. We have the ability to keep it together and we trust that we are the better team.
The team this year has a notable number of freshmen and sophomores. Does this change or create a different dynamic within the team?
Having a young team has been both a great opportunity and a challenge. We are at a point where we can redefine who we are as a team. This makes younger players feel more excited and involved in the program. The fact that we have a young team also puts us in a good position for the years to come. Our younger players are gaining valuable experience and they are only getting better, which puts the CMS Water Polo team in a good place for the future.
Do you feel that there is enough crowd support and spirit during your games? Do you think this can affect your team’s performance?
We can always use more support. I think that some of our other CMS teammates have been doing a good job of attending the games and cheering us on, but more support never hurts.
What has been your favorite or most memorable game of the season?
I think I would have to say the Redlands game. That was a turning point where we had to really fight during the game. We have had to play teams that are Division 1 which can be difficult and can also decrease our confidence. Everyone on our team was fighting for our game. This was also the first game that we won for SCIAC so it was definitely a big boost for us.
Does the team partake in pre-game rituals or traditions?
We dance a lot before and after the games. We have a team soundtrack and we release our stress and frustrations through dance. After we dance, we proceed with our warm-up routine and stretches. The general idea is to dance our problems away.
How does the team come together during a loss and how do you celebrate a victory?
It depends on the loss. When we lose to a Division 1 team, we take what we can away from the game because those aren’t necessarily games that we have to win. But, with SCIAC we’ve had some difficult losses, so we look at what we can do better next time. We also sit down as a team and discuss the factors that led to the loss, such as errors in communication. When there is a victory, we dance. We love to dance. We’re also very hungry after games so we have some post-game Chipotle or In-N-Out. We like to eat as much as possible.
This interview has been modified and shortened.
The next home game for the Athenas is on April 13. The game against Chapman University is this Saturday, April 9.