Knox College’s women’s water polo team (6-5) wrapped up their season on Sunday in Ames, Iowa.
The team was in Ames for the Heartland Division Championship, which was hosted by Iowa State University.
“This past weekend was the best team water polo that I’ve ever seen Knox play in my nine years here,” head coach Jonathan Powers said. “I was really pleased with how well we played and, more importantly, how we developed as a team throughout the season.”
The team, a member of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), took fourth in the Heartland and plays against Grinnell College, Iowa State, Illinois State, two Missouri schools — Lindenwood University and Washington University — and two Minnesota schools — Carleton College and Saint Mary’s University.
“We match up with some teams better than others,” Powers said.
Senior Sara Dreiser, who captains the team with junior Kelley O’Connor, added, “The league has gotten a lot of state schools involved. … Sometimes it is tough trying to compete with them. You win some and you lose some.”
After their first two tournaments this season, Powers changed the way the team played offense. Instead of playing an offense that featured O’Connor in the hole, he switched to a motion offense, which got more of the team’s members involved in their matches.
“So much of the offense can run through the hole,” Powers said. “For so long, we’ve had an offense where we’ve had someone in that position and having that person shoot. The talent and ability in the conference has really gone up in the last couple of years. The top teams in the conference all have very good defenders that would make it more difficult to run the offense that way.”
The team usually had four matches in a weekend and, if they were lucky, played two matches on Saturdays and two on Sundays. Normally they played three on Saturdays and one on Sunday.
“It is physically tiring, but we are used to it,” O’Connor said. “Most of us have been playing for so long that it is a usual thing. We just are excited to play polo.”
On their journeys, the team learned about each other, had fun and played more than water polo.
“When you spend that much time in a car with someone and you still want to hang out with them when you get back then you know it’s true love,” Dreiser said. “We have, I think, more fun than any team in our league. Team fun is one of our common cheers. Even when we are getting destroyed we have a great time playing.
“You really get to know your team on trips. We have a lot of games that we play. My favorite game is called the barn game; whenever you see a red barn you have to yell, ‘Barn!’ as loud as you can. There are a lot of red barns in the Midwest,” she said. “People get really angry with you when you play that game. We also play the cow game. We count all the cows that we pass.”
“Our goal again is to go to nationals, just like it was this year. It is a realistic goal,” O’Connor said.
Sara Dreiser – senior
Lu Yaeger – senior
Emilie Perrot – junior
Kelley O’Connor – junior
Anne Heberle – sophomore
Laura Blue – sophomore
Katherine Miller – sophomore
Tory Kassabaum – sophomore
Rachel Clark – sophomore
Anna Dvorak – sophomore
Sarah MacDowell – sophomore
Adrienne Wagner – sophomore
Rebekah Bally – sophomore
Kelly Eigenberger – freshman
Anna “Poo Poo” Claypool – freshman
Katelynn Schlaman – freshman