Up next is Brown Bears head coach Felix Mercado who talks about how great it is to host the Eastern Championships at their new facility and gives the blunt answer to what would be a successful season. So far Brown is 5-4 on the year and had a tough go at it this past weekend where they lost to Hartwick, Indiana and Maryland; all three are ranked in the latest top 20 poll.
1. What expectations do you have this year for your team?
Its hard to say what my expectations are. Obviously we want to win a championship, but realistically it might be a tall order. I would say finishing strong and not underachieving would be two. I want to make sure we play better each game and are playing at our best at the end. This year we will be hosting our Conference championship and it will be the first time in five years we are playing in front of the Brown Community as we open our new Aquatic Facility. I am sure the team will be ready to play their best ball!
2. What are the strengths of your team?
Chemistry would be at the top. Our team really understand and respect each other and that is very important. We rely on everyone to contribute in different ways and respect plays a big role on our success. I hope defense will be a strength as well.
3. What would qualify to you as a successful season this year?
Honestly, the only way I can answer that is by exceeding expectations. Finish higher than you are seeded at Easterns.
4. Can you tell me about your incoming freshman for this year and how they will fit into the team this year?
We have five, but four that are healthy. Evan Cranston GK will be pushing our Starter from last year Sarah Shin for playing time. Liz Rosen has already established herself as an option on offense and a tenacious perimeter defender. Becca Zak will add quality depth to our Center Defender position and that is a key. Lastly Madi Pepper will help strengthen our Center Forward position. In all the should be in the rotation from the get go. Our 5th freshman, Chloe Kempf, is battling Mono and we are hoping to get her back mid March. She will also fill in at center defense.
5. What players do you think could have a breakout year?
I hope all do :). But some bright spots out of our pre-season have been the Sophomores, Kate Woods, Gusty Clarke, Sarah Presant, Emily McNamara and Malaika Drebin. I think having a year of experience has made them more comfortable with the level of play. I also think our upperclassmen, Juniors Kat Booher, Claudia Ruiz, Brittany Westerman, and SR captain Sam Ryu will continue to improve with leadership in and out of the water.
For more water polo news, join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Google+