With one second left in the second game of the season, Lancers and Bulldogs tied 6-6, the Lancers called a timeout. With no time left, the Lancers had one chance to win the game. All the players swam forward, and freshman goalie, Braden Sanders, threw the ball in to sophomore Greg Olsen.
“I couldn’t get a grip where I could shoot it normally, so I just meathooked it.” Said Olsen.
Holding the ball between his arm and hand, Olsen chucked the ball towards the back of the net.
“I was just thinking there was no other way, and the buzzer’s about to buzz so I just threw it out my hand, and boom.”
To Olsen’s surprise, the ball ended up in the back of the net, and he scored the buzzer beater to win the game 7-6. During practice, Olsen has worked on the “helicopter” type of shot before, but is not the most practical shot and had to be used because he was running out of time and could not get a proper grip on the ball.
During his freshman year, Olsen got to experience being with the varsity team as well as the JV team. He warmed up with the Varsity team, watched them play, and then played in games on the JV team.
“Watching the varsity game showed me a lot more, and I learned a lot from watching them.” Said Olsen.
Even though last year Olsen was not ready to play with the Varsity squad, he watched their games and practiced with them, so that this year he would be strong enough tactically and physically to make an impact in the pool.
“I noticed the plays that they would run on 6 on 5 and also I started to notice at my position what to do and how to not get a foul or kicked out.”
Playing with people four years older as a freshman can be scary and by watching the people in his position, Olsen began to understand what was going to be asked of him when he played at the Varsity level and how he could achieve that.
The team has a lot of talent this year, despite graduating the standout player Seif Elmankabadi last year.
“It is a big difference not having Seif because he was our main scorer last year.” Olsen said.
The team had to adjust their offensive tactics after graduating their main goal scorer, but they focus on the task at hand, not at what could have been the outcome of the game if Elmankabadi was still there.
“Our team doesn’t think about that more, they mostly just think about our team right now, which is good. And we never make excuses like ‘if we had Seif we would’ve won.’”
When asked about his future with water polo, Olsen says he intends to pursue the sport in college. Despite only being a sophomore, the young talent continues to succeed in the pool and hopes to one day play at some of the most competitive water polo schools in southern California.
“I would like to go to Pepperdine, USC, UCLA, and maybe Stanford.” Olsen said.
The team is talented in offense but it’s main strength is their defense. During season, Olsen says as a team their shooting is dexterous, but if they wanted to, could undoubtedly defend their half of the pool.
“As a team, if we wanted to play lights out defense we could definitely play really good defense.”
There’s no doubt that the team will go very far if they can keep their defense solid and continue to work on their offense. With a strong start to the season, the team has a record of 6-6 and they are not looking to let up anytime soon.