The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Strength in numbers

The water polo team poses for a team picture (Photo courtesy of SJU Campus Recreation).

St. Joe’s water polo ready for a successful season

Over the years, the St. Joe’s water polo team has transformed from a few friends who shared a common interest to a tight-knit group of people who compete at a high level.

“I’d say our biggest strength is having a diverse group of people who haven’t really swam before but know how basketball and lacrosse work,” junior Dan Trout said. “Through this we’re able to run plays well and keep up with competition.”

The team has come a long way since 2015 when they only had 10 players, just enough people to play against other club teams.

“When I joined freshman year there were only two other freshmen who were on the team with me and the rest were juniors,” senior Scott Powell said. “We were on the verge of potentially not having a team, let alone be able to compete against the best teams in our division.”

The Class of 2016 entrusted now-seniors Scott Powell and Paul Goertel to take over the team and continue on with the water polo program.

“The current junior class really stepped up and made it a team where we have enough players to play during a game and also to have a full sided scrimmage at practice,” Powell said.

Powell credits their ability to hone their skills at practice to juniors like Trout and Jake Smith, who have brought their level of expertise to the game.

Trout is a transfer from Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. He has played Water Polo since fifth grade. Smith swam in high school but never played water polo until college.

“I definitely learned more of the offensive and defensive part of the game,” Smith said. “I’m fine with the swimming, I just need to work on running the plays.”

The players have also learned to deal with the aggression and intensity of water polo.

“There are punches and kicks that happen under the water and you kind of just have to deal with it,” Trout said. “The refs can’t call and see everything that goes on.”

This isn’t the only obstacle the team has had to overcome. The team views West Chester University as their largest rival in the sport and looks to take them on again in the finals this year.

The Hawks recently beat West Chester 14-5 on Sept. 25.

“West Chester is who we lost to last year in the finals, so they are definitely our biggest rival right now,” Trout said. “There’s a bunch of good teams in the division but as of last year it’s WCU and us for the championship and it probably looks like what it’ll be like this year if things keep going the same way.”

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