The women’s water polo team fell to first-place Whittier College in a close 15-10 game April 13. With the season wrapping up and a spot secured for all the teams in the conference, the Panthers are trying to finish strong and improve their seed before the conference tournament.
“It looks like we’ll be a four or five seed – maybe we’ll climb up,” said Head Coach Eric Ploessel. “We’ll see how the games go the rest of this week. You never know, really. If we play up to the level that we can, I think that we can beat anyone in our conference.”
The Panthers (8-18, 3-4) found themselves trailing the entire game after falling behind 6-4 by the end of the first quarter. Heading into the final quarter, the Panthers were down 12-7 and found the deficit was too much to stage a late comeback.
Despite the tough game against Whittier (22-7, 7-0), Ploessel believes his team played well.
“I thought we actually played pretty well,” he said. “That’s the No. 1 team in the nation. A lot of those girls on that team have been playing together since they were 10 or 11 on the same club team – forever. That’s a huge advantage that they have. Me, I’ve had girls that have been together, maybe for only one year.”
Even with this loss and current four-game losing streak, the Panthers hold fifth place in the conference. The Panthers will travel to the last-place California Institute of Technology (3-17, 0-7) for their last game of the regular season.
“Hopefully it’ll be a win there, and that should even up our conference record, 4-4,” Ploessel said. “We’ll see how the rest of the games go to see how our standings are.”
The Panthers travel to Caltech April 16 in their final game of the season before they get ready for the postseason tournament.