Men's Water Polo Schedule Announced

Another competitive conference season expected

Jordan Meaney was second on last year's squad with 46 goals. Photo: Chris Humphrey (NextStepPhoto)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Cal Lutheran men's water polo will begin its quest for the program's first ever Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) title. Last year's near-miss came during arguably the most competitive season amongst the eight SCIAC programs and early projections have it remaining that way in 2011.

Schedule: 2011 Men's Water Polo

Cal Lutheran was tied for first in the conference standings after posting a 6-1 record in dual play. Despite earning the second seed and facing the seventh seed in the opening round of the conference tournament, the Kingsmen fell by one goal dashing their hopes of capturing the program's first-ever SCIAC title.

"There are a lot of teams that can beat a lot of other teams on any given day," said ninth-year head coach Craig Rond. "There are no guarantees in our conference and it is important to stay away from the emotional rollercoaster of this ‘mini-marathon' SCIAC season."

Leading up to the conference season Cal Lutheran will play in four tournaments starting with the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego (Sept. 3-4) to open the year. Three contests are against non-division III opponents which have been practicing much longer than the week allotted for NCAA Division III teams.

"There are two major reasons we go (to UCSD)... We go to get a gauge of where we are and what we need to work on. It will also be a great team bonding experience and guys will get to know each other and build chemistry," said head coach Craig Rond.

CLU will then play its first of five consecutive home contests during its host Posada Royale Invitational (Sept. 15-17). The Kingsmen will face a trio of division III opponents during that event.

"We are excited to have a solid, (Division III) East coast school in MIT out here," said Rond. "We also face conference rival La Verne and soon to be SCIAC opponent Chapman with both having gotten the better of us last year."

Cal Lutheran will play a pair of games at Cal Baptist (Sept. 30) and take part in the annual, two-day Claremont Convergence (Oct. 7-8). Rond hopes by mid-October and the start of conference play that the team has gelled both in and out of the pool.

"The goal is always that these guys get to know, love and respect each other. Last year we had the tightest team I have ever coached and it showed in our results," said Rond.

When asked about a possible marquee matchup during the conference season Rond looked at the schedule and had reasons for nearly all of them.

"Redlands is always so powerful...La Verne upset us in the second round (of the SCIAC Tournament) last year...Whittier upset us in the first round...(CMS) is the defending champs whom we beat (during the regular season)...Occidental at their pool is always tough...and we beat Pomona-Pitzer for the first time last year and are playing at their place on ‘Senior Day.'"

The three-day SCIAC Championship Tournament will be hosted by La Verne starting on Friday, Nov. 11.