THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.— The Cal Lutheran men's water polo team returns experience, depth and leadership in 2019 as the Kingsmen return 19 student-athletes and welcome four more to the program.
Last year's squad got a ton of experience as the Kingsmen won six of their final seven games of the regular season and snuck in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. Cal Lutheran looks to build off that momentum with a great group of returners, including three All-American honorees from a year ago.
"The experience last year was huge," said head coach Craig Rond. "It was in critical games and they also had do to it under some stressful circumstances. That is going to go a long way."
Leading the charge, the senior class is made up of All-American Honorable Mention George Lundgren, Hans Cole, Seth Hightower and Tanner Kaplan. Lundgren led the team with 50 goals and was third with 49 steals. The seniors all helped out the team in different ways as Cole compiled 31 drawn ejections and 26 steals, Kaplan score 18 goals and Hightower had 16 goals and 11 drawn ejections.
"The senior class is strong," said Rond. "I have not seen a group of guys with a more organized non-traditional, work ethic and amazing leadership. The younger guys listen to them and that will help us tremendously with the underclassmen buying in."
"Lowe brings a lot of experience to the center position," said Rond. "Then at center defender, Blaauw leads the way. He is a work horse and very fast in the water. He leads our defense with the goalkeepers."
The sophomore class returns First Team All-America Ben Brown and All-America Honorable Mention Dillon Goldsmith. Joining them in the pool for the second year is Matt Binckley, Tommy Corey, Angelo Devito, Taylor Garcia, Justin Krause, Kaleo Lee, Nathan March and Ethan Wlaschin.
Brown was second on the team with 49 goals and added 36 assists, a team-leading 57 steals and then 23 drawn ejections. Goldsmith tied with Brown for the second most goals and recorded 35 drawn ejections and 19 steals.
"Brown is our All-American lefty and he'll get the starting nod," said Rond. "Krause and Binckley have really shown signs of mass improvement. With all of them in the same class, it's cool to watch them battle it out."
The Kingsmen begin their quest for a second straight SCIAC Tournament appearance on Saturday. CLU is at the Brown Invitational, over the weekend and opens the invite with Connecticut College on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. PST and then has Brown at 1: 15 p.m.
2019 Roster: Kingsmen Water Polo
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director