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Water Polo 101: Cheer on Men’s Water Polo with this quick primer

Update: The Men’s Water Polo team will compete against UC Berkeley in the national semi-finals at 2 p.m., Saturday. You’re welcome to join the festivities as we cheer them on at the watch party in The Lair on the second floor of the DeRosa University Center.

Whew! Is it just me, or is anyone else’s heart still racing from the USA vs Iran match? The World Cup is in full force right now, but so is the NCAA Men’s Water Polo National Championships. Might I suggest taking a break from fútbol and coming out to support your Pacific Tigers Men’s Water Polo team as they play in the Opening Round on Thursday?

If you haven’t been following Men’s Water Polo, let me catch you up to speed. Living up to their “Water Polo U” nickname, the Tigers finished 7th in the nation and 1st in the Golden Coast Conference, with their entire seven-man starting lineup receiving all-conference awards. This will be Pacific’s fifth postseason appearance and their third in the last five seasons. They finished runner-up in both 2013 and 2019.

Elite athletes from around the world comprise this championship team. Over the summer, current players Reuel D’Souza, Jeremie Cote and Bogdan Djerkovic represented Team Canada at the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. They are looking to represent them again at the 2024 Paris Olympics.    

Watch Party at The Lair

Ready to come out and support? The Tigers are taking on the UC Davis Aggies at the Spieker Aquatic Center on California’s campus in Berkeley at 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 1.

The Pacific community is encouraged to attend the free watch party at The Lair, on the second floor of the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center.

In addition to streaming the match on their new 16,000-Lumen Panasonic laser projector and six 70” 4K ultra high-definition video displays, The Lair will be serving their usual pub-fare with special dishes by guest Bon Appétit Pizza and Pasta Chef, Giuseppe Randazzo.

Water Polo 101

To help you understand what some consider the most physically demanding sport, here are seven fast facts about water polo:

  1. Each team starts at their own goal lines and a swim off starts each period. Whoever reaches the ball in the center of the field first has possession. 
  2. Six field players and a goalie are trying to outscore their opponents before the end of the game. In some cases, teams will have to play with less when exclusion or major fouls have occurred. Some examples include: kicking or striking an opponent, using foul language, or intentionally splashing water in an opponent’s face.
  3. A player can only use one hand to hold the ball. They have to dribble or swim with the ball in front of them or pass it to a teammate to advance it.
  4. If you touch the bottom of the pool, possession is turned over to your opponent. Players must keep themselves afloat by treading water and using the alternating leg kick method known as eggbeater.
  5. Similar to basketball, there is a 30-35 second shot clock and games are played in quarters ranging from six to eight minutes. If no shot has been made when the shot clock runs out, possession is turned over to the defending team.
  6. Goggles are prohibited and water polo bathing caps are to be worn at all times for safety reasons. Players purposefully wear tight-fitting swimsuits to make it difficult for their opponents to grab onto them during a game.
  7. There are several different positions in water polo. Most teams use one center forward, one center back, two wings and two drivers. The center forward is their main attacking player and you can recognize them because they will be directly in front of the opponent’s goal.   

Think you got it? I can assure you, this quick-paced sport will be nothing less than exciting to watch. With rowdy cheering, players jostling and constant scoring, what’s not to love? Take your newfound knowledge to The Lair on Thursday to cheer on your Tigers. Hope to see you there! 

Learn more about the Men’s Water Polo team here.

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