High Hopes For Water Polo

Amanda Zepeda

CSU East Bay’s water polo squad will open their 2011 campaign on Jan. 21 at home against UC Santa Barbara.

Last year, these lady Pioneers were ranked 19th in the nation, and they seek to continue that same success in this upcoming season.

“We’re a lot better than we were last year,” said Coach Cooper. “Hopefully we can get a crack at winning the conference championship.”

The Pioneers return nine players from last year, and look forward in incorporating 13 new players into the mix. Those returning players include Claire Pierce, who was named female athlete of the year for all of Division II in last year’s season.

With the leadership of team captains Jayme Pakarske and Whitney Bell, along with senior Liz Warren, this CSUEB water polo team looks to give their opponents some tough competition.

“I think that we have a very strong team, probably the strongest in four years,” said Warren. “We have so much talent on our team and a great team chemistry.”

Liz Warren is CSUEB’s all-time leading scorer. She is also one of two four-year seniors who helped CSUEB win the water polo 2008 nationals for Division III.

“Liz is very solid at what she does and I expect her to contribute at a high level for us this season,” said Coach Cooper.

In her eighth year as water polo coach, Lisa Cooper and her assistant coaches look forward to having an even better team this year than they had last year.

“The ladies are working very hard,” said Coach Cooper. “We’re really happy with our returners and excited to see what our new players can do.”

The squad is finishing up a successful offseason, which consisted of victories over rivals Santa Clara, University of The Pacific and Sonoma State in preseason games in November.

Already, CSUEB is proving this season is certainly one to watch and their senior players are looking forward to a successful campaign.

“I am sad that this is my last year playing polo for CSUEB, but I am glad that I get to finish playing with a team like this,” said Senior Liz Warren. “I feel that the seniors this year are going to leave with a good season. We are going to surprise some teams. Being the underdogs and rising above the competition is the best feeling in the world.”