THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Cal Lutheran women's water polo team is looking to make a big splash in the 2018 season. The Regals open the season ranked No. 3 in the nation, according to the NCAA.
Cal Lutheran gets a chunk of its core back from the 2017 team, 18 returners, including three All-America honorees. The Violet and Gold look to build on their accomplishments from last year, as they finished fourth in in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).
Head Coach Craig Rond and Assistant Coach Cody Pletcher were named the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year this past season. The duo adds six returners to a team that is ready for the next step, and contend for a SCIAC Championship.
The team has three seniors in Erin Cunefare, Kristi McGee and Sam Wulfestieg. Cunefare is looking for an expanded role for the 2018 season. As a junior, she finished with nine goals with a .529 shooting percentage. She added eight assists, 11 steals, six field blocks and one drawn ejection.
McGee became a two-time All-America selection after being named to the First Team last year. She was also honored with a First Team All-SCIAC award. A center-defender for the Regals, she was a threat at both ends of the pool. She played in 28 games with 26 starts and finished in the top-three for every positive category in 2017. For her career, she has 72 goals, 76 steals, 71 drawn ejections, 35 assists and 11 field blocks.
Wulfestieg has been a big contributor for the Violet and Gold throughout the past years. As a sophomore, she earned Association of Collegiate Water Polo Association (ACWPC) All-Academic honors. She has played in 86 games. Her stats include 71 drawn ejections, 47 goals, 35 steals, 10 assists and five field blocks.
Meyer is the starting goal keeper for the Regals. She led the SCIAC in saves as a sophomore with 281. That total was the second-most saves in program history for a season. She was eight saves shy of tying the record. She set a new single-game record with 18 saves and has tallied 10 or more saves in 15 games.
Roed was named Second Team All-America after a breakout sophomore season. She led the team in goals with 47 and had 16 multi-goal games. In a two-year career, she has played in 59 games and tallied 77 goals, 63 drawn ejections, 36 steals, 24 assists and 13 field blocks.
The sophomore class is looking to make some noise after being in Coach Rond's system for a year. The student-athletes are Jayci Burrell, Carissa Carlos, Christin Hirn, Taylor Martinez, Gaby Renteria, Victoria Rose Meek, Madelynn Silvis, Mackenzie Thomas and Remy Wilkison.
Meek was a standout as a freshman and earned Honorable Mention status from the ACWPC. As a center, she played in 27 games and led the team in drawn ejections. Her total of 60 tied for sixth in a single-season at CLU. She was also among the top-three on the team in goals with 31, and had eight multi-goal games.
The freshmen class added seven new faces to the mix in Elena Aleman (Exeter, Calif.), Nikki Aponte (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Jay Clerou (Bakersfield, Calif.), Claire Justman (Foster City, Calif.), Natalie Mansergh (San Rafael, Calif.), Miara Pipe (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Bella Vares (Dallas, Texas).
The Regals open the season Friday, Feb. 2, and take on Carthage at 1 p.m. and Monteray Bay at 4 in the Samuelson Aquatics Center.
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director