Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Water Polo to compete in Conference

Augustana Vikings Water Polo team works hard during one of their practice. Photo by Morgan Clark

After claiming a victory over three teams, Carleton, Knox, and Macalester, on Sept. 30 at Grinnell College, the Vikings are headed to Conference with the possibility of going to Nationals this year.
Senior president of the water polo team, Cristopher O’Neill, has high expectations for the upcoming weeks as the team prepares to compete in their final competitions.
“Our ultimate goal is to win the Conference Championship and go on to compete at Nationals in Vermont. The Augustana water polo team is one of the hardest working teams on campus and one of the most successful,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill also has high hopes for the conference and national competitions, hoping to keep the legacy of the previous water polo teams.
“Since the team was founded in 2010, the team has had six winning seasons. This includes an undefeated season in 2014 in which we won our first Conference Championship and went to Nationals. We have a phenomenal team this year, and arguably a better team than we had in 2014. We have a great chance at winning Conference again and making it to Nationals.”
Using the team’s successful experience from this past tournament, junior, Karthik Kasireddy, knows that even with success, there is always room to improve.
“One thing about myself and the team is that there’s always room for improvement. Even though we are doing well, we will be competing against the same teams, but they will have developed new skills and we will have to prepare for that. Another thing I’ve learned is to never give up. Games go up and down. We were down 5-1 in the first quarter in this past tournament and we ended up defeating Macalester College 15-8,” Kasireddy said.
With the team beating Macalester, they became the number one seed for the upcoming conference for the first time since 2014. This advantage will allow them to have a better chance of winning Conference and heading to Nationals.
“We do have a chance to compete at Nationals if we win Conference this year, and I think we can do exactly that,” O’Neill said. “I was a starter on the 2014 championship team and winning Conference. Going to Nationals was an amazing experience and one that we hope to repeat this year.”
The team has made several improvements over the past years, and O’Neill believes this will lead to much success now and in the future.
“Our goalie, Nate Kies, has improved a lot since last year and we have a strong team in general. We’ve added a lot of freshman talent this year, which is the final piece of the puzzle we needed to be highly competitive,” O’Neil said. “I’m very proud of our team this year, and I know that this team is going to be successful for many years after this season.”

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Water Polo to compete in Conference