WPOLO: Wildcats open season even at Ivy Tournament

Alex Gallucci

The women’s water polo team began its season this past weekend with the Ivy Tournament held at Brown University in Providence, R.I. It was a busy weekend for the team, with double-header games on both Saturday and Sunday. In their first two games against Dartmouth and Harvard, the women went 1-1, defeating Dartmouth easily, 15-4, while falling to Harvard, 5-3. The team repeated these mixed results on Sunday, as it devastated Yale with a 15-1 victory before losing to Brown 15-6 later in the day.

“I think we did a really good job this weekend,” junior driver Carla Martinez said. “We found some things that we have to work on, but it’s great because this is only the beginning of the season and we have plenty of time to work on those things and get better.”

Martinez was recently selected as one of seven members of the Preseason MAAC All-Conference Team. Villanova ranked fourth in preseason rankings. Martinez said that she felt “very proud and at the same time excited” to be recognized as one of the top players of the MAAC conference.

Although the team faces the disadvantage of a small roster this year, its numbers have only helped team chemistry, as the players have grown closer both in and out of the pool. This, combined with strong leadership from seniors Danielle Hanson, Brynn Rooney, Taylor Schrang and Nicole Sherry and from Head Coach Damon Newman, should provide for a successful season. Newman, in his second year at Villanova, has worked hard to improve the program through a highly-structured training program. In addition, the team has also taken on former team captain Kim Pare, class of ’06, as assistant coach.

“It’s great having Kim since we not only have her as an assistant coach but also as a friend,” Martinez said.

Although the true test of the team’s hard work will not come until April when the MAAC conference games begin, expectations for the season are high.

“I believe we have the potential to be one of the best teams in the MAAC conference,” Martinez said. “We have been training hard, getting in shape and we will continue working hard throughout the season and doing our best to succeed.”

The team will take on Bucknell, Grove City, Maryland and George Washington Feb. 24-25 at the Bucknell Invitational.