Players look to win conference, escape third place standing
The men’s club water polo team has its hopes set on a National Championship this year after two consecutive years of taking third place. And currently it looks like they are well on its way to achieving that goal.
The men’s team competes in the Southwest Division I of the Collegiate Water Polo Association and has three out-of-state matches this season. Last weekend was the first of the three out-of-state matches and the Buffs were victorious as they defeated Utah State in Logan, Utah.
According to team Captain and President Nick Engebretson, a junior environmental design major, the team won all four of its games and outscored its opponents 71-30.
“(This was) very successful for our team in general,” Engebretson said.
The men will next travel to Albuquerque, N.M., this weekend and compete in another tournament.
“(It will be) a lot harder. We’re playing some really good teams,” Engebretson said of this week’s competition.
Two of the teams they face will be the University of Arizona A team and the University of Utah. The Wildcats and Utes have been first and second in the division for the past two years. And according to Engebretson, these are two of their biggest opponents.
“We were third in the Southwest last year, and the year before,” Engebretson said. “We’re kinda stuck behind these two teams, but I think we can take first place this year.”
Head Coach Kyle Beach agreed, saying that CU has a good opportunity to move past its third place standing this year.
“We have a huge chance to win the conference this year,” Beach said. “Our chances are better than other years.”
Part of the reason for this increased confidence CU has in earning a CWPA division championship is because of the addition of several new players to the CU team, and the loss of experienced players on opposing teams.
“This year was huge (for us),” Beach said. “We grabbed six freshmen and three upperclassmen, and Arizona lost a lot of talent last year.”
Engebretson said that unlike many of the teams in the conference that have A and B teams, CU utilizes all of its players collectively. CU has about three strings of 26 players that contribute in each game, Engebretson explained.
The players constantly rotate keeping each other fresh during the hour-long games. It is also a training advantage for less experienced players because they get work directly with more experienced players.
The water polo team will head to the Southwest Division Championship at the University of Arizona in Tucson on November 4.