Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
The Official Home for Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros

Women's Water Polo

SBCC Women's Water Polo Looking to Continue Perennial Success in 2023

Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography
Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Santa Barbara City College Women's Water Polo Head Coach Chuckie Roth has been the only head coach in program history.

Nearly a decade later, he has won 4 WSC Coach of the Year awards, the most recent of which last season on the way to a CCCAA championship, the program's 2nd in the last 5 years. The Vaqueros have won 8 straight conference championships, hold a 54-game conference win streak, and have had 6 straight 30-win seasons.

"Have you gotten nostalgic yet?"

Roth laughed. "Not really. Each year is a new opportunity to do what we do."

"What has been the key to the program's sustained success?"

"Team culture," Roth answered. "Everyone works really hard. [The players] committed to me, I'm committed to them. I want our players to go on to the next level."

The Vaqueros will defend their CCCAA championship with only 4 returning players from last season—Claire Daland, Gabrielle Muehring, Natalie Mancinelli, and Gabi Turnbull. Notable players who have moved on from last season include WSC Offensive Player of the Year Jenna Olson, two All-WSC First Team goalies in Ava Donleavy and Chloe McKay, and All-WSC First Team and 2021 Player of the Year Eden Tal.

On that point, leadership can often be a question at the community level, where massive turnover is normal and can change a team's dynamic year-to-year. The SBCC Women's Water Polo team has proven to be an outlier, despite the occasional worries.

"I was a little unsure of what our leadership would look like going in [to this year], but everything's been great. We've had a lot of buy-in," Roth said. "We put so much time into recruiting, and we put a lot of time into finding the right match for our system."

Roth mentioned all 4 returning players growing into leadership roles, particularly Claire Daland. Earning All-WSC First Team honors as a freshman utility player last season with 68 goals, 85 steals, and 16 field blocks, Daland is listed as a Center Defender this year.

As for this year's approach, get ready for an electric style of play.

"I think we have a lot of dynamic players—we're faster and more agile than we were last year," Roth added. "This is the most athletic team I've ever had."

This is high praise considering the heights the team achieved last season. But, no pressure, says Roth.

"The pressure to win is at the end [of the season]," Roth said, referencing to the Vaqueros' CCCAA championship game rematch against runner-up West Valley this coming weekend. "The pressure to be your best is always. … I want to play good teams; we're always looking to learn—trying to get better every day."

The Vaqueros begin their 2023 season this weekend against Golden West and West Valley on Friday, the 8th, and then against Cuesta and Cerritos on Saturday, the 9th. All 4 games are a part of the 2023 Central Coast WWP Invitational at Cuesta College.