No one could doubt that the Long Beach State women’s water polo team was on to something special this season.
There was only a question as to where it would wind up, and as it turned out, the final destination ended up being a school record for wins in a single season.
“This is fantastic,” head coach Gavin Arroyo said. “It’s been a challenge, and it’s a really nice thing for the girls.”
The 49ers took third place in this weekend’s conference tournament and are currently ranked No. 10 in the country.
Sunday’s win over No. 8 San Diego State marked LBSU’s 25th win of the season. It broke the previous mark from 2003, when the 49ers went 24-8 under Ricardo Azevedo.
Junior goalkeeper Kelly Ringel recorded eight saves and junior Coriann Snyder delivered her fifth hat-trick of the season in the win.
Ringel finished the season with 274 saves, 12 shy of Kristen Stragier’s LBSU record set in 2008.
LBSU beat No. 14 Cal State Northridge on Friday but dropped its semifinal match in the Big West Tournament, effectively ending the team’s chances to go to Boston and pursue the NCAA championship.
“Our goal is to be in the hunt for the Big West title every year,” Arroyo said of his plans for the program.
The 49ers sank 11 ranked teams this year. The team also went on a 14-game winning streak midway through the season.
The streak included first place finishes at the Fluid Four in Bloomington, Ind., the Posada Royale and the Claremont Convergence. The three tournament wins were the first for LBSU since the 49ers won all three of their matches in the LBSU Classic in 2008.
Most of the team will return after this season, including the 49ers’ top three scorers. Junior Chelsea Parks led LBSU with 60 goals, freshman Christina Kotsia scored 50 goals, and Snyder added 39 goals to aid the 49ers’ attack.
Sunday’s game was the final one for three LBSU seniors. Melissa Matheson, Julie Lantz and Claire Martin may have played their final games, but their legacies were certainly established with the record-setting season.