Augustana Water Polo team overcomes adversity and builds resilience on the road to nationals


Linh Tran

Head Coach Ryan Pryor, Assistant Coach Peter Ollis and the rest of the Augustana College Women Water Polo team react to Sophomore Annie Opal Dickson tackles Austin College’s Senior Aubrey Pasky.

Bibhu Lamichhane

The Augustana College water polo team took their competition by storm this year, dominating at the championship level. Led by a group of talented players, the team has proven that hard work, dedication and a passion for the sport can pay off in a big way. The program’s excellence allowed for them to place third at the national competition this year.

One of the standout players on the team is sophomore Victoria Guest. Guest has been a key player for Augustana throughout her college career, and her leadership and skill have helped the team achieve great success.

In a recent interview, Guest talked about the team’s journey to the top. 

“We’ve been working towards this for a long time,” Guest said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication, but it’s all worth it in the end.”

Another player who has been instrumental to the team’s success is Ocean Akau, a sophomore who has quickly become one of the top players in the country. Akau’s speed, agility and ability to score goals have helped the team win game after game.

“Playing water polo is just something that comes naturally to me,” Akau said. “I love the sport, and I love being able to help my team win.”

Charlotte Newport, a sophomore on the team, has also played a key role in the team’s success. Newport’s strength and tenacity in the pool have helped the team overcome tough opponents and secure victory after victory.

“I’m so proud to be a part of this team,” Newport said. “We’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and it’s an amazing feeling to see all of our hard work pay off.”

Sophomore Casey Barragan has also made a big impact in her first year at Augustana. Barragan’s skill and determination have earned her a spot as one of the team’s top players, and her contributions have been vital to the team’s success.

“I’ve learned so much from playing with this team,” Barragan said. “It’s an incredible feeling to be a part of something so special.”

In addition to the impressive performances of the players, the water polo team also gave credit to their outstanding goalie, Lizzie Pelzman, for her significant contribution to their victory at the national championship.

According to Barragan, Pelzman’s presence in the goal provided a sense of security and confidence to the team, allowing them to take more risks and play more aggressively. 

“Knowing that Lizzie had our back in the goal made us feel like we could go all out and take more chances,” Barragan said.

Akau also praised Pelzman’s performance, stating that she was crucial in saving some crucial shots during the tournament. 

“Lizzie made some amazing saves that really kept us in the game,” Akau said. “She’s a key player in our team, and we couldn’t have done it without her.”

The water polo team’s performance at the national championship is a testament to their hard work, dedication and teamwork. With talented players like Guest, Akau, Newport, Barragan and Pelzman, the team has proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the world of collegiate water polo.