California Lutheran University women’s water polo team took on the University of the Pacific in a heavyweight match in the first round of the National Collegiate Championship on Tuesday, May 7, but could not pull out a win. The Division-I Pacific Tigers beat Cal Lutheran 16-4.
The Regals took to the pool at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatic Center in the tournament’s second opening round game of the day. Though the Regal’s were up against a formidable team, their game plan and execution remained the same, said junior center Victoria Rose Meek.
“We didn’t go into it thinking we were playing a D-I team. Instead, we held ourselves to a higher standard and had confidence in our abilities to equally play a good match of water polo. We prepared for this game like we would for any other, we talked X’s and O’s and watched film on our opponent,” Meek said.
After the first quarter of play, the Regals were within striking distance with a score of 4-1. However the deficit only grew larger with the Tigers keeping up the offensive pressure, resulting in a 7-2 lead at halftime.
The Tigers kept up the pace, holding off the Regals for the rest of the game. They kept Cal Lutheran to a goal per quarter, resulting in a 16-4 loss for the Regals.
After a historic season, the Regals held their heads high despite the defeat. Senior goalkeeper Bailey Meyer, who broke her own single season saves record at 320 and set the career saves school record at 919 in her final season as a Regal, said she was proud of her team’s performance.
“It is an honor to have been at that pool and representing our team. Most of the girls on the other teams are Olympians in water polo, so to be in a tournament with those girls playing is amazing,” Meyer said. “When the score began to rise, there was not a moment where we gave up and let them counter without a fight. We went into this game as SCIAC champions and this game wasn’t going to take that away from us.”
First-year center Lexi Rond had a record of her own this season, breaking the single season record for drawn ejections. She tallied 4 against the Pacific Tigers, giving her 112 on the year. The previous record was 96 drawn ejections in 2007.
As the season comes to an end, the Regals graduate six seniors after compiling a record of 21-9 overall and a 12-2 record in conference.
In her four years of Regals water polo, senior utility player Nikki Roed said winning SCIAC was her favorite moment.
“I think the most real and emotional memory I will take with me would be winning the SCIAC conference title and the pure joy that we felt, finally achieving the goal we’ve been working toward all four years as Regals. The relationships I’ve built with my teammates are ones I will take and remember the rest of my life,” Roed said.