Men’s water polo drops three of first four

Sophomore driver Cameron Genetti looks to move the ball against the University of California, San Diego Sept. 1. Genetti scored Chapman’s only goal in the game. Photo Courtesy of Ken Grosse

Chapman’s men’s water polo team opened its season with a trio of losses before its first win this weekend. Chapman fell to the University of California, San Diego and Concordia University Irvine Sept. 2 and Loyola Marymount University Sept. 3 before notching its first win against Fresno Pacific University.

Sophomore driver Cameron Genetti scored the only goal of the game in the 14-1 loss to UC San Diego during the first period of the game. Genetti said Chapman found it difficult to keep up with a Division I team.

“We were up against Division I athletes that play all year-round, and they’re just a lot more conditioned and in shape to play,” Genetti said. “We still played a great game though, and even though it’s really early in the season, we’re already just as good as we were last year.”

Chapman was 6-20 overall last year and 4-8 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, finishing in seventh place out of nine teams.
Head coach Eric Ploessel said that despite the opening two losses, he believes the team started off the season well.

“We played a good game, but we were up against a really strong team,” Ploessel said about the first game. “They took every chance we let slip.”

Ploessel said he attributed the losses to a need for better team conditioning, which he thinks will improve as the season progresses.

“I’m a defense-minded coach,” Ploessel said. “We need to get to conditioning and get back in shape to play again. We had a lot of open opportunities to score and win the game (that) we missed and as a coach, I see that as due to a lack of conditioning. During the first game, turnovers really hurt us, too, because turnovers ultimately lead to goals.”

Chapman fared better Sept. 3, picking up a 14-8 victory over Fresno Pacific after losing 11-5 to Loyola Marymount earlier in the day.

Junior utility player Kevin Dayan scored three of Chapman’s seven goals in the 9-7 loss to Concordia, two goals in the loss to Loyola Marymount and four goals in the win against Fresno Pacific. He attributed the loss against Concordia to a lack of team cohesion.

“We need to get on the same page. No matter what we do, we need to do it as a team,” Dayan said.

This year, instead of all nine conference teams making the playoffs, only the top four teams in the conference will receive playoff bids. Despite the team’s seventh-place finish last season, Ploessel said he feels optimistic about the team’s chances to make the top four because of the strong leadership that it has.

“We finally have a lot of senior experience and leadership,” Ploessel said. “There are some teams at the top of our conference with a lot of new players, so I’m hoping that our seniors will help us pull through.”

The team will travel to Princeton University for a three-day tournament starting Sept. 8 where it will face Princeton, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Wagner College and Fordham University.

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