SHERMAN, Texas - In early March, the Austin College men's and women's water polo teams made history by competing for the first time in program history in a series of club matches on the campus of Rice University. The 'Roos took on NCAA Division I programs the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas State.
Taking a roster of nine players, head coach Mark Lawrence saw his players perform well in their first competition, with a combination of talented young players who chose Austin College for the opportunity to play varsity water polo in Texas and upperclassmen, including several members of the 'Roo swimming and diving teams, getting their first real chance to play the sport in a competitive setting.
"We wanted to really embrace this historic opportunity for Austin College, and for our new water polo programs, by having a really competitive weekend," said Lawrence. "But more importantly, we wanted to have a really fun weekend out of the water, as well, to build a strong foundation for both the men's and women's programs moving forward."
The team played four matches, including taking on Texas A&M twice, and were led by freshmen Robert Griffin and Jennifer Liang - both of whom came to Austin College a year before the programs move up to the varsity ranks in order to help establish the program.
"Our goal for the weekend was to create a culture and presence for the programs both on and off campus," said Lawrence. "We were really happy, because we were competitive in every game."