National silver medallist Capital Wave women. Photo provided
By Phi Trinh
The Capital Wave women slay the reigning queens of Canadian water polo but couldn’t knock off the Prairie powers en route to a silver medal performance at the Mar. 31-Apr. 2 Senior National Championships in Markham.
The game that won them the silver was a 9-6 semi-final triumph over Montreal’s CAMO, which had gone 12-0 in the Major League Water Polo season and outscored the Wave by a combined 36 goals in their 3 meetings.
“I was really happy about that,” underlines Wave coach Adrian Steenkamer, whose team could not overcome a 5-0 1st-quarter deficit to Saskatchewan in the final, falling 12-7 in the end.
“We knew they were going to be a strong team,” Steenkamer adds. “We could have played a little bit better. We started a little slow. We kept balancing the score, we kept close, but we couldn’t come back.”
For a Wave lineup that hadn’t played together much before at the start of the season, a silver medal finish represents an impressive jump.
“We had a lot of individual talents, but we didn’t play as a team,” reflects Steenkamer, who was pleased to see the squad’s rise this year, and the program’s progression in 3 years since the league first debuted, having improved their placing from 6th to 3rd and now 2nd this season.
It can be a challenge at the senior level for players to balance all of life’s commitments with their amateur sport pursuits, Steenkamer notes, and the result is often limited practice time to build team cohesion.
The Wave women are a great mix of veteran talent alongside several teenagers still eligible to play at the youth level, he adds.
“The younger athletes are having somebody there to be their role model,” Steenkamer highlights. “They, in turn, provide what I consider the youthful enthusiasm for older athletes to continue to push forward.”
The Wave’s roster features several players who have competed for Canada internationally, including 2017 newcomer Dominique Perreault, a past World Championships silver and bronze medal winner and 3-time Pan Am Games silver medallist.
“She’s an incredible athlete,” signals Steenkamer, noting Perreault made an immediate impact. “She provides a lot of guidance and instruction to direct our younger athletes.”
With silver and bronze the past 2 years, there is only one medal left to win for the Wave, and that’s an objective they’d like to hit come next season.
“The coaches, the families and the integrated club (through all levels) open a really good environment for athletes who want to play water polo at the senior level,” indicates Celso Rojas, the Capital Wave club head coach. “In the coming years we want to open up the door for any ex-players or young girls who want to participate in the league.”
Ottawa to host 16U Eastern finals
While the senior domestic season is over, the youth divisions are just heating up, with the Nepean Sportsplex set to host the 16-and-under eastern conference championship tournament from Apr. 21-23.
The 8-10-1 Capital Wave are the local hope in the girls’ event, while the 11-9 Ottawa Titans are the top local prospects on the boys’ side.
Like the Wave senior women, the Titans will face the challenge of knocking off an undefeated Goliath in their league, Toronto’s 19-0 Mavericks Black squad.
“There’s definitely a gap between bigger teams and us, but I think we can close the gap,” signals Titans coach Andras Szeri, who was pleased to see how his starting lineup measured up with the Mavericks in a contest earlier this season. “We actually beat them in the first half, so I think the guys just proved to me and to themselves that they’re good enough to beat anybody. They are up there with the top team in the country.”