The562’s coverage of aquatic sports in Long Beach is sponsored by the Aquatic Capital of America Foundation.
Jordan girls’ water polo finds its new head coach for the second straight year as Brenden Gruneisen takes over looking to get the program going in the right direction.
“Improvement is number one,” Gruneisen said. “We want the girls to want to show up and to improve for themselves first and foremost. So far since I’ve gotten here it’s been amazing.”
While only losing a few graduated seniors, the bulk of the Panthers team is returning after gaining experience in the pool together.
The team will be led by starting juniors Alessandra Moreno, Jocelyn Martinez and Valerie Farias as well as sophomores Melanie Alatorre and Melanie Madrid. Senior attacker Iris Orellana will also start while junior Nellie Arzate will take over as goalkeeper.
“Honestly, the most interesting thing about this team is that I can’t tell you who our best player is,” Gruneisen said. “We play very unselfish water polo where girls’ want to set each other up and things like that. We also have a lot of girls who bring a very specific brand of water polo to the team so overall we’re very well-rounded”
Gruneisen feels that though they are unselfish, it’ll be important for some girls to step up as the teams’ big play makers.
“We’re pretty deep as far as what these girls are able to bring to the table but the learning curve is gonna be having them take their own opportunities and taking the chances to try and score,” Gruneisen said.
The Panthers have been without a playoff appearance for over a decade, and they’re hoping that this is the right team to end the drought with Gruneisen at the helm.
“It’s a lot of baby steps first and getting better as a team,” he said. “But, I’ve told them since day one that my goal as a coach is always to make the playoffs.”
Their path to the playoffs will start on Nov. 16th at 4:00pm when they open up their season at home against Bell Gardens.