LEXINGTON, Va. - With the start of the 2017 VMI water polo campaign this weekend at the Mercyhurst Invitational in Erie, Pennsylvania, we asked head coach Ryan Pryor a few questions on what his goals and expectations are from the team this season.
1. Who are this year’s team captains? What are your expectations of them to lead this team?
Pryor: This year’s captains are 1st classmen Bailey Huddleston and Ceci Lundy and 2nd Classman Natalie Rivas. My primary expectations of captains are always to set a great example and help to reinforce team expectations. Bailey, Ceci and Natalie have been doing a fantastic job so far this year—I’m very fortunate to have such strong leaders on the team.
2. What is your outlook for the attack line?
Pryor: We return our top 10 goal scorers from last year so I feel very good about where we are offensively. That group, along with the freshmen who have integrated very well, gives us a lot of scoring depth and we’re able to score goals in a variety of ways.
3. How is our defensive back line coming along?
Pryor: The arrival of freshman Emma Noble gives us increased depth and versatility defensively as she will pair with Sophia DelBondio to fill the primary defender role. This also allows Caroline Wojtas to slide back to an attacker position, which I believe is a more natural fit for her skillset. Tactically, we have also added a couple of secondary defensive options which will allow us to present a variety of different looks to our opponents.
4. Who is this year’s starting goalie? What do you expect from this position?
Pryor: I feel really good about where both goalies are at this point. Issi French will be our starting goalie but Catie Berry will have plenty of opportunity, as well. Our strength at the goalie position will allow us to take some more chances defensively in an effort to create offensive opportunities in transition.
The Keydets face Gannon (10:30 a.m.) and Saint Francis (6:45 p.m.) on Saturday before competing Sunday with Bucknell (8:45 a.m.) and host Mercyhurst at 12:30 p.m.