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Jessica Salaz is part of a nine-member senior class for the Athenas
Jessica Salaz is part of a nine-member senior class for the Athenas

CMS Women's Water Polo Picked Third in Preseason Division III Poll

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team was picked third in the preseason Division III poll from the Collegiate Water Polo Association, the organization announced this week.

CMS is three years removed from its last full season of competition in 2019, leaving a lot of unknowns heading into the 2022 campaign. However, the Athenas enter the new season with a lot of optimism, thanks to a deep senior class of nine players who were already making an impact early in their careers, prior to the COVID shutdown. 

Offensively, senior Alex Szymczak had tallied 14 goals in the early part of the 2020 season, after tallying 28 goals as a first-year. Addi Duvall was third on the team in scoring in 2019 with 13 goals and 15 assists, while Emily McElroy had 11 goals from the center position and Maddy Menard had a combined 14 goals and 14 assists in her first season-plus. 

Defensively, seniors Jessica Salaz and Ruth Efe were off to strong starts in their careers in 2019 and 2020 as well. Salaz allowed less than 10 goals per game as the regular starter in 2019 (9.20), and Efe was off to an incredible start in 2020, tallying a .757 save percentage with 28 saves and only nine goals allowed in her six appearances.

Emma Brezoczky, Natalie Clark, and Katharine Larsen joined (or re-joined) the team in 2020 to make an already deep Class of 2022 even deeper, and the Athenas will enter a new season heavy on leadership with nine seniors able to mentor two classes worth of student-athletes who have yet to compete in college.  

In the early part of 2020, the current junior class had immediate contributions as well, as Christina Kulick was the leading scorer for the Athenas with 17 goals., and Jessi Beyer was already carving out a key role in the CMS rotation with six goals in her debut campaign.

CMS is scheduled to open the 2022 season at the Bruno Classic at Brown University on Feb. 5-6 and host its home opener on Feb. 23 against Cal Lutheran, although the schedule is still undergoing last minute revisions due to health and safety protocols from the latest coronavirus wave and is subject to change.