UCSD Women’s Club Water Polo Team Takes on Alabama
The UCSD Women’s Club Water Polo (WCWP) team began their road to the 2022 Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship (NCCC) by beating out the other teams in the their division of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) in their home pool on April 23 and April 24. In their final game, they beat Arizona State University (10-9) and were named Southwest Division Champs, earning themselves a spot in the tournament that would take place across the country in two short weeks, on May 6-8.
There are 102 teams in the CWPA and just the top 16 of them qualify for the NCCC. This is only the second time that the UCSD WCWP has qualified for Nationals, the first time being in 2018; so, competing there is an accomplishment in and of itself. On top of that, the Tritons took home the third place title (behind only UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara)!
For the Tritons’ first game at the Huntsville Aquatic Center, they faced the University of Central Florida and won 8-3. Natalie Kaplanyan was named Player of the Game for scoring 3 goals. The next day, they started out strong by defeating Texas A&M 13-4 in the quarterfinals; Gaia Hinds earned Player of the Game with 3 goals. In the evening, they took on Cal in the semifinals. The Tritons gave the Golden Bears a run for their money. The score was tied 6-6 at half but ultimately, UCSD lost 9-13. The next day, they fought University of Michigan for the 3rd place title and emerged victorious (10-7). Gaia was once again named Player of the Game with a whopping 6 goals. (You can read more about these games by visiting the CWPA article for each: UCF, T A&M, Cal, UM).
Two players were also named to the All Tournament Team, which is highly selective; six field players and one goalie were selected to each of the two teams. Gaia Hinds earned a spot on the 1st All Tournament Team (15 goals over the weekend) and Kimberly Holland made the 2nd All Tournament Team (6 goals over the weekend).
In addition to competing, the team had the opportunity to have fun in Alabama and Tennessee (where they flew in and out of) and bond with each other. One of their favorite activities was visiting the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. “I am so unbelievably thankful that I was able to travel all the way to Alabama to compete at Nationals with my amazing teammates; I love them all so, so much (coaches included) and this was such a memorable experience”, says captain and player Amanda Martilla.
The UCSD Women’s Club Water Polo team is very grateful to have had the opportunity to compete at such a high level, and they are incredibly proud of what they have accomplished. They would like to thank their coaches - head coach Macey Rafter and assistant coaches JJ Kadifa and Mackenzie Cottle - for the dedication and guidance that they have given to the team. They would also like to thank all of the family, friends, and donors who helped make this trip, and this season, possible. Lastly, they would also like to give a shoutout to their graduating seniors: Lian Lumada, Sheccid Duchac-Gomez, Gaia Hinds, Kristen Plat, Brittany Ayala, Hannaford Bush, and Emma Cooper; you all will be missed greatly and we can’t wait to see you back on deck as alumni!
Stay tuned to hear what the Women’s Club Water Polo team is able to achieve next season!
Pictured above is the 3rd place team of the CWPA National Collegiate Club Championship! From left to right are: (front row) Ryan Carmody, Emma Cooper, Kayleigh Dennen, Sheccid Duchac-Gomez, Julia Derunes; (middle row) Macey Rafter, Brittany Ayala, Gaia Hinds, Kristen Plat, Lian Lumada, Nadia Alcaraz, Alex Bussey; (back row) Amanda Martilla, Hanna Bush, Kimberly Holland, Sarah Horne, and Natalie Kaplanyan.
The Tritons cheer on their teammates, who are in the water battling the University of Michigan for 3rd place.
The Women’s Club Water Polo team had a blast at the US Space & Rocket Center!