Amy Olsen, sophomore member of the Iona College women's water polo team, will chronicle this season on ICGaels.com as the Gaels look to repeat as MAAC Champions and return to the NCAA Championships. A season ago, Olsen was named MAAC Rookie of the Year and a Second Team All-MAAC Selection after scoring 95 points on 75 goals and 20 assists. Outside the pool, Olsen is a writer for the school newspaper, The Ionian.
With our first tournament this Saturday, the Iona women’s water polo team received our playbooks for the season this week. I love this part of the season. The tiring hours devoted completely to conditioning are over, and now it is time to start playing.
I have been playing water polo since I was in the fifth grade. I grew up in Baytown, Texas and played for Dirty Bay Water polo, the Houston Water polo Club, and played for Ross S. Sterling in four years in High School.
I am now a sophomore here at Iona beginning my second season of play as a Gael. Last year was an exceptional year for our team, and I am still so proud of my teammates and coaches for our success. We were champions of the MAAC, where we proceeded to the University of Michigan to compete in the NCAA championships. It was a great experience for all of us, and one of our goals this season is to defend our MAAC title and play in the NCAAs again, this May in San Diego, CA.
Although we lost a great group of seniors, we jumped into this season with a new type of intensity. There are new players, a new group dynamic, and even new plays.
Getting a playbook always presents me with mixed emotions. While part of me is secretly annoyed that I have to sit down and read through plays with funny names, another side of me is excited to get into the actual fun part of the game. This year’s playbook has a generic title, “2012 Playbook”, but underneath a new feature caught my attention. In all caps was the word “FAMILY”.
This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but for us, it sums up our whole team’s theme this year. In order for a play to work properly, every single person in the pool has to step up in her role and trust one another. Whether the ball finds its way past the goal line, or if it unfortunately ends up into the hands of our opponent, we still have the sensibility to pick one another up and try again in a unified manner.
The competition this year will be tougher than ever, and every team in the conference will fight for the spot to play in San Diego at the NCAA championship. We know what is expected of us, the pressure is on, and as a family we will embrace that challenge.
So, just like a play we would run in a game, the Iona women’s water polo team will keep the goal of MAAC champs in mind as we take one step at a time to San Diego. Every minute counts in a water polo game. Four eight minute quarters is all we have to beat our competition. I encourage you to keep up with us as we continue our journey, game by game, thirty-two minutes at a time.
Until Next Time,