Heading into the 2018 campaign, the San Diego Mesa women’s water polo team had more questions than answers on how they would defend the Pacific Coast Conference title.
With six starters graduating or transferring, including former coach Jackie Puccino leaving for Harvard, the team was in full rebuild mode, or so we thought. After promoting assistant coach Emma Sasson to head coach, the team is continuing to play at a high level and looks poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.
The Olympians are currently 15-9, 8-0 in the conference. “I believe the team is starting to play together,” states Sasson. “We have a set system that we run, but we are starting to trust each other and that allows us to be more creative with the flow of our play.” She continues, “we are definitely a resilient team and have an uncanny ability to bounce back. With so many young players, it’s exciting to see what we’ll do in the playoffs.”
Freshman Ashley Greeven (Cathedral Catholic HS) has been impressive with her excellent offensive play. The coaches speak highly of her vision around the pool and her ability to keep everyone involved. Another freshman making her mark is Sydney Fortune (Patrick Henry HS). Sasson calls Fortune the quarterback of the team.
Solid play from the Olympians is coming at the right time, which includes a two-game win streak against Grossmont and Palomar. “We have to approach each game one at a time,” explains Sasson. “Once we are in conference play, you throw the records out the door. Playoffs are exciting because it’s a time where you see girls step up in different ways. We are excited and ready to go.”
The women start their defense for the title on Friday, November 2 at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Ca. Game starts at 2:30 p.m.