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Women's Water Polo Season Opens: Experience, Depth New Strengths In 2012

Women's Water Polo Season Opens: Experience, Depth New Strengths In 2012 image

The Pasadena City College women's water polo team opened the 2012 season Friday, splitting a pair of matches at the Saddleback  Tournament. The Lancers lost the opener to Grossmont, 9-2, then used five goals from returning All-South Coast Conference selection Makenzie Blank in an 8-4 victory over Southwestern.

The Lancers have their entire starting lineup back from last season and have added some new faces that will give the team a luxury it hasn't had in recent seasons. 

"We've never had a larger returning sophomore group than this year's squad," said Terry Stoddard, PCC head coach in his 14th season in charge of the program. "Two things that will be different for us is that we feel we will able to run a counter attack, and that we now have some depth with the infusion of our incoming freshmen."

Stoddard is carrying 19 players, the largest roster in his tenure here. 

One of four lettermen who were named to the 2011 All-SCC Team, Blank is the team's returning No. 1 scorer (Temple City High, 79 goals and 30 steals). Goalie Shelby Gregg (Crescenta Valley HS, 191 saves, team-best 69 steals), like Blank a conference First Team choice, is back as well as Second Team selections in Paloma Barrera (Burroughs, 30 goals, team-high 33 assists) and Milene Minassians (Glendale High, 34 goals, 37 steals). 

Other lettermen include Naoni Padilla (South Pasadena HS, 74 saves, 36 steals), Taylor Guidera (Crescenta Valley, 15 goals), Giselle Mendieta (LA Marshall, 10 goals), Lauren D'Angelo (Monrovia), and Kathleen Little (VAPA). One key sophomore newcomer is Ashli Gonzales (Charter Oaks High), a transfer from Citrus College (2009, 17 goals, 25 assists) and a member of Stoddard's talented 2012 Lancers swim team. 

The freshmen class includes Mariana Silva (Roosevelt HS), Yukiyo Ueda (Temple City), Adriana Najera (California High), Paige Watroba (Laguna Beach, also a PCC swimmer), Fiona Velazquez (South Pasadena), Ruby Diaz (Miguel Contreras LC), and the Didarloo twins, Soseh and Siuoneh, (Hoover High). Marisa Rack (Vista Murrieta) is Stoddard's blue-chip frosh newcomer who is already challenging for a starting spot.

"With Gregg at goalie, we have an athletic leader on defense," Stoddard said. "Offensively, we expect Blank to be a leader, but we have other players who will able to get in the scoring column and make quality shots. We're excited about our potential."

At the Saddleback Tournament, Blank and Gonzalez-Griffen (penalty shot) scored the goals v. Grossmont while Gregg was outstanding with nine saves and two steals. In the win over Southwestern, PCC raced out to a 5-1 first-quarter lead and never looked back. Gregg again was a stalwart with 13 saves and a pair of steals. Of Blank's goals, she was an efficient 5-for-9 overall on attempts. Minassians added a goal and an assist and Gonzalez-Griffen picked up the other Lancers' score. Mendieta contributed one assist and a team-high three steals. 

The Saddleback Tournament continues today, Saturday, Sept. 8, with two matches against undetermined opponents. PCC begins the SCC season on Wednesday, Sept. 12 against Long Beach City College in a 3 p.m. match at the Aquatic Center.

[File Photo--Shelby Gregg is once again the Lancers' No. 1 goalkeeper in 2012 after an All-South Coast Conference year as a freshmen.]

Release Date: 09/08/12
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu