The San Diego State University Women's Club Water Polo team recently defeated rivals from across the country to become the Collegiate Water Polo Association Club National Champions.
The team played Arizona State University in the semi-final game to advance to the championship game against Michigan. SDSU defeated Michigan 10-9 in sudden death overtime.
“This win not only represents this group of females but also the entire university and San Diego area," said Jamie Cassidy, the team’s head coach. "The team really came together this past year by fundraising to pay for pool time and travel costs, working hard in and out of the pool and by lifting one another up even when things got tough in the championship game.”
The team was led by team MVP Bailey Wickliffe, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter of the championship game.
“The team stepped up and played together in those overtime periods against Michigan, I’m so proud of their hard work all season to be ready for this moment," Cassidy said.
The team played as a unit in the championship game. With Morgan Klingfus — the Collegiate Water Polo Association National Player of the Year — in goal, the team stopped Michigan from scoring in two overtime periods.
After heading to a final sudden death overtime period, Meghan Harder scored the winning goal, making SDSU the 2014 CWPA Club National Champions.
“I’m so proud of my teammates — a club program is a lot of work," said Natalie Parker, club president. "Teammates have to fundraise, do community service for the City of San Diego and represent SDSU. It all came together, winning the championship is a memory I will never forget.”
On the horizon
Cassidy attributes the success of this year's squad to the commitment and dedication of the players.
"This year we had enough girls to have both an A and B squad," she said. "There was a lot more competition and a lot of talent, and that really raised the level of play."
Fortunately for the squad, only three seniors will be leaving, meaning the majority of the team will return for the next season.
"There is a lot of great chemistry between the girls," Cassidy said. "They have so much respect for each other and they all play so well together. It definitely showed this season."
About SDSU club sports
The Women’s Club Water Polo team is housed within the SDSU Sport Club program.
SDSU Sports Clubs consist of 19 competitive teams. Each club team is developed, organized and managed by students with guidance from the Intramural and Sport Club Coordinator and the Intramural and Sport Club Supervisor.
Each club team's success is determined by the collective efforts and organization of the student athletes. Sport clubs enable students to enhance their collegiate experience and serve an excellent setting for the development of athletic skills, student leadership and social outlets.