The Saddleback men’s and women’s water polo seasons are just starting off, but women’s coach Jen Higginson and men’s coach Pat Higginson have high hopes for the season ahead.
Both teams are just finishing the third week of practice and both are full of “serious athletes that know how to have fun,” said Jen Higginson. She is entering her 19th year of coaching community college sports.
“We have a solid returning crew that know how to work hard,” said Jen. These returners, such as Dani Peeler and Whitney Werner, are just a few of the athletes to watch in this team of 15.
After having no one in the goal last season, the women’s team recruited goalie Krista Mueller from San Diego State for the team this year.
“Having Krista in the goal and the large number of returners make a huge difference this year for our girls team,” said Jen.
“We hope to see both the men’s and women’s teams make it to So. Cal. Championships this year,” said Jen. The championships take place in the later portion of the teams’ seasons around November.
For the men’s team, Coach Pat Higginson is also very optimistic for his team this year.
“These guys have been working hard all year,” said Pat. “We have a really tight group and they have stayed a team all year.”
The men’s team is made up of 14 players with many returning players, such as Kevin Burzynski and Kevin Mitchell, who take the two-meter defense and two-meter offense, respectively.
The men’s water polo team concluded last year’s season with a 17-10 overall record and a trip to State where they were defeated by Golden West in the Regional Quarterfinals.
The women’s team concluded their season with two wins and a fifth-place finish at the Orange Empire Conference tournament. The women’s team finished last season with a 7-18 overall record.
With the confidence of the coaches this year and the apparent hard-working ethic of both the men’s and women’s teams, this season will bring a whole new set of opportunities.