This article was originally published in ZU News.
The Azusa Pacific water polo team won both games in a double header on Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Whittier Invitational. They started the day by beating Chapman 14-4 and then dominating Redlands 18-7.
Sophomore driver Sarah Adams led the team in goals during the day with six total. She had two against Chapman and four against Redlands.
“It went pretty well. We won by a good amount and played together as a team,” Adams said. “We played well together, especially since it’s only the third week with the new freshmen playing with us. One of the freshmen, Britni Tisdale, played really well. She helped us a lot with her quickness.”
All told, there were eight different players who scored for the Cougars in the first game and ten different players in the second game.
Head coach Julie Snodgrass said that she was proud of the way the team played.
“We were pretty intentional about setting team goals. We got pretty close to meeting all of those. I think we made six goals before the game and we met four of the six and were really close to the other two,” Snodgrass said. “They’re coming together well and figuring out each other’s tendencies and realizing some things we need to clean up as the season continues.”
Junior Annalise Batcheller lead the team in goals against Chapman, as she notched a hat trick.
“It was a good day overall. The team was able to stay focused on the task at hand and work on improving,” Snodgrass said.
Senior goalkeeper Erica Marquez had her best game of the season as she only allowed 4 goals against Chapman. Marquez said that she’s impressed with the freshman’s performance so far.
“The freshman have been contributing a lot. They’ve worked really well into our system and added some speed and depth to the team.”
Marquez and Snodgrass said they’re looking forward to the Cougars next game against Cal State Northridge.
“They’re definitely a formidable opponent. I think that we match up well with them. It should be a game that’s fun to watch for spectators [one of the few home games of the season], but it will definitely be intense as well,” Snodgrass said. “It’s our brick game. I would love to see not just athletes but students come out and support us. We lost by one goal in the beginning of the year and then again about a month ago and the coach shook hands with me and said it looks like we have a good rivalry going here.”
Adams agreed that CSU Northridge has become the team’s rival for this year.
“This year they’re our rivals. We’re playing them four times, including in a tournament in Michigan,” Adams said. “We’re going to have a lot of momentum on our side, especially since it’s our brick game. I think this game will be a good opportunity to beat them since it’s at home.”
Snodgrass said the team has played better than last year, but they are still working on meeting their goals.
“We want to compete better against our conference opponents. We finished fourth in the conference last year and we want to do better,” Snodgrass said. “More than the schedule, we want to come together as a whole, and the upperclassmen have done a good job of leading us there. We want to give our best and see how far we can go.”
Snodgrass said the team has one other goal, to crack the top 20 nationally ranked teams, which includes Division I schools. She said that she thinks the team can do it under its senior leadership.
“I’m really proud of the upperclassmen and my captains,” Snodgrass said. “They’ve really created a drive and a hunger in this team.”