Vanguard’s water polo team was hungry to get into the pool again after its previous road trip was cancelled.
The Lions competed in the Claremont Convergence Tournament this previous weekend. The tournament was played at three different pools: Pomona-Pitzer, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College, and the University of La Verne.
The first match of the tournament was more meaningful to the Lions because they played Lindenwood. The first win in Vanguard’s water polo history was against Lindenwood, and the first loss also.
The Lions were motivated to win this match all year, so it made them train even harder.
This was a rubber match for the Lions and they did not disappoint with a 6-5 victory. They seem to have created a rivalry already in their short time as an NAIA team.
“It was a pretty big win for all of us to show we were the dominant team,” junior co-captain David Buckalew said.
The second match of the day was against Penn State Berhends.
The Lions already defeated them once this year, and the second match had the same result.
The Lions were led by freshman Kyle Kim-E who poured in an impressive four goals.
Junior standout Israel Perez and freshman Cameron Engelhart pitched in with three goals and two assists.
As the second day approached, the Lions were to face the host team Claremont in the morning match and Cal Lutheran in the afternoon match. They lost 8-15 and 10-14 respectively. After splitting the four games in the Claremont tournament, the Lions improve their overall record to 7-10.
Because this is the inaugural season for water polo, it means the team has had to face challenges day after day. There have been times when the team had no pool to practice in and had to practice in apartment complexes. Most of the players are coming from high school teams, junior colleges, and four-year colleges, so it is difficult to get chemistry. The Lions finally will be able to get pool time at Costa Mesa High, but it is not their pool so they still don’t have that much authority.
“As a team we’re coming together, it’s not easy,” Buckalew said. “Everybody is rising to face the adversity, I think we’re better for it. Without each other, we have nothing.”
The Lions hit the pool again on Wednesday Oct. 13. Following that, they have a home doubleheader on Thursday Oct. 14, starting at 7:30 p.m.