The women’s water polo team started its preseason with two back-to-back losses at the Whittier Invitational on Saturday.
The Panthers began the morning with a 24-1 loss to the University of Southern California, which is ranked second in NCAA Division I going into the season. The Panthers, who finished last season with a 10-20 overall record and a 5-6 record in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), ended last season in fifth place and lost in the SCIAC semifinals to Whittier College.
“It wasn’t really about the winning,” said senior attacker Grace Schade. “It was about getting a first chance to play together and working together to see where we all fit in.”
The Trojans came out strong with an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. Senior two-meter offender Emiko Mizusawa scored for Chapman in the first quarter before being shut out by Trojan defenders. USC had a 15-1 lead at the half before completing the game with an additional nine goals to the score.
The Panthers continued their afternoon with a 12-9 loss against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, who the Panthers knocked out of the playoffs last year to reach the semifinals. Mizusawa, senior two-meter defender Emily Fong, senior utility player Lindsey Campbell, junior utility player Andi Sandoval, freshman defender Argelia Diaz and junior utility player Elaine Peterson each scored for the Panthers.
“No one seemed upset after the games because we went out there and played really well and got done what we wanted to,” Schade said.
With almost half of the team members being freshmen, the Panthers will be looking to gain important experience during their preseason games.
“Usually (in) the first game, it’s not easy to work together, but we all played together well and it was just easy,” Schade said.
The Panthers have a break until Feb. 24 when they will face Concordia University and the University of Toronto in Irvine to continue their preseason.