(Walnut, CA) After a year away from the pool, the Mt. SAC Men's Water Polo team is making plans for a triumphant return.
With a large roster put together by longtime coach Marc Ruh, the Mounties will start off the 2021 season with a first-time trip to the Air Force Academy for a tournament.
The opening game is against Ottawa University of Arizona at 6:00 pm. Live stats are available on the Mt. SAC Athletics website.
"We are really looking forward to this season," Ruh said. "The team is working extremely hard and we kick the season off with five games at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs over Labor Day weekend. It should be very challenging for us with high-quality opponents and playing at an altitude.
Other opponents in the tourney are Cal Lutheran, USAF Academy, and Utah.
The Mounties will compete in three other tourneys in their busy schedule, which includes the annual Mt. SAC Tournament, September 17, 18.
South Coast Conference action begins September 22, with the Mounties hosting Rio Hondo. The Mounties will host the SCC tournament at the beginning of November.
"We start the season with seven of our first 10 games against NCAA teams."
Ruh, who has a roster of 27 on the team, knows that this will be a challenge this season with the long layoff due to the pandemic.
"As with all teams this year, the season is going to be extremely unique," he said. "It has been roughly 650 days since our last water polo game for Mt. SAC, which is about 21 months.
The last game was a close loss in the CCCAA So Cal Regionals, which culminated a successful season in which the Mounties finished with a 20-6 overall record and a second-place (5-2) finish in the SCC.
"Water polo is very unique, Ruh said. "It is not a sport that you can pick up and play anywhere during a shutdown like basketball or running. There were no pools open for almost 13 months. It feels almost like we are starting from scratch."
One thing that Ruh is proud of is his players' performance in the classroom during the pandemic.
"We do have some very talented student-athletes that have done extremely well in the classroom since the shutdown," Ruh added. "Our team GPA has been in the 3.7's throughout the lockdown."
Mt. SAC has only one returner from the 2019 team – sophomore utility player, Tate Cauley. All of the rest are freshmen, of which half (CoVID Freshmen, first-year playing) will transfer next year.
Players to watch this season:
- Kyle Kurtz, Yorba Linda HS (CFR)
- Adam Dow, Damien (CFR), Former All-Area HS Player of the Year
- Aidan Murphy, El Dorado, FR
- Diego Lopez, Alta Loma, FR
- Luke Noblett, Chino, CFR
- Ivan Morales, Schurr, FR
- Trevor Ingersol, Glendora, FR
CFR – CoVID Freshman, first-year playing
In addition, Ruh has five goalies battling for the starting position.
Follow Mt. SAC Men's Water Polo on Twitter @mtsacaquatics
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.