Dillon Valadez ‘10
The Saint Mary’s Women’s Water Polo team looks to have a promising season. With consistent, dedicated coaching, any troubles this team may have faced in years prior seem to be very much in the past. “It can be challenging competing against a team like Davis,” explains Gracie Bone, the SMC Team Capitan. “For years they have benefited from excellent coaching, and facilities, and a large enough roster to form an A and B side.”
Although they may have been out-gunned in the past, Saint Mary’s is rearmed and ready to fight. The team is now headed by a new coach, and 2005 All-American player, Dale Shepherd. He coached for the Stoneridge Water Polo Club, and now brings his experience as a player and as a coach back to the Gaels.
This year the Gaels also have an unusually large roster, including former high school players, and athletes who are new to the program. “It may be the largest team Saint Mary’s has ever had,” stated Shepherd. “In fact, there were so many new girls out to play there were not enough swim caps to go around. Fortunately, Saint Mary’s also provided a new set of equipment to the girls, adding to the new and improved look of the Women’s Water Polo Team.”
Now that the team is headed by a new coach, new players, and is très chic with new uniforms, they are looking forward to a great season. “[We’re] Excited about the season, and the challenges ahead,” says Shepherd.
The girls are excited about the new change also. “Definitely the numbers count, and the change of coaching” says the team. Having these advantages will level the playing field for the already talented team. Also it will give a good direction for the future of the sport at Saint Mary’s, hopefully giving inspiration to future recruits to come to a great school with a great water polo program.
Although the team remained quiet and humble, one could tell they were expecting positive results this season. With the high spirits of the team, Saint Mary’s should make a splash in 2009.