San Diego Mesa College men’s water polo team has claimed first place in the conference, and went on to make a strong showing in the Southern California Championship. The Olympians managed to finish out the season with a perfect 7-0 record in the conference, and an impressive 18-9 overall.
According to coach Nathan Resch much of this season’s success can be credited towards the large group of returning sophomores on the team, and a competitive group of freshmen.
“We had seven sophomore returners who had some great experience from last year that carried over into this season. So just having that continuity between seasons was great to have. And that combined with an outstanding freshman class just created an atmosphere, a culture, that just bred success for the season. So we were able to be really competitive in our practice and that carried over to our gameplay.”
Mesa driver Kenny Pineo fondly recalls those competitive practice sessions that allowed for such a successful season.
“It’s sad to see the season go, you know? I don’t know a word for ‘knowing you were having a fun time when you were doing it.’ Practicing so hard, I had so much fun, and I wish I realized how much fun I had while I was doing it.”
Resch adds that much of this year’s improvement over the previous year hinged on his returning players. Additionally, those returners set extremely high standards for themselves, and stayed motivated to succeed during the off-season.
“I think where we were deficient last year was we only had two or three returners, maybe only one starter out of that group. This year, we had 4 or 5 returning starters, having that experience and playing time from the year before carrying over to this season, that group of sophomores were able to contribute a lot. Also I think a lot of them had good off-seasons and set high expectations for themselves this year. They really wanted to win a conference title and have a successful year.”
With their sights set high, 10 players on Mesa’s team managed to earn spots on the all-conference team, and utility player Roman Rosser earning player of the year. Coach Resch is proud of his team and all they managed to accomplish this season.
“They took us to socal playoffs, and really competed at a high level in every game. We lost the last game by four goals and that was our biggest differential. We were competitive in every contest. Really good group that wanted to compete at a high level and did with every game.”
Coach Resch is optimistic about next season, and has an abundance of faith in his freshmen. Not only is he excited to work with his current players next year, but he also looks forward to gaining new recruits.
“We had I think three freshmen that ended up starting for us by the end of the season so those guys really did an outstanding job and developed a ton and earned their playing time… A lot of good experience from that group will carry over from this season and be a good foundation to build upon with our recruiting class we bring in.”