Having a smaller than normal team can be a struggle for any collegiate athlete. Sophomore Allison Grimes hasn’t let it show for the women’s water polo team.
The team was coming off a strong 2010-11 campaign, finishing with a 16-10 record.
This season, the Lakers started poorly and hit a low point when they lost five straight games during the Chapman Invitational at the end of winter term. Even so, players like Grimes are stepping up and trying to make the team one to be noticed.
“We are doing well, but the downside is that we do get hit around a lot because there are only 12 of us this year, and we had 18 last year,” Grimes said.
Being the only sophomore starter and the second-highest scorer with 51 points behind junior Lisett Caldron, Grimes is making a name for herself.
“We have a lot less people this year, so there is more playing time and more opportunities. I feel a lot stronger from lifting and training too, so that has helped me overall,” Grimes said.
Grimes leads the team in assists this year with 20 total. This is a big step up from her freshman year where she totaled 16 points the entire year.
“I had to step up this year since many key players left last year. It was nice sitting on the bench my first year because it allowed me to see how the team works together during games,” Grimes said.
Grimes is a math education major and has been playing water polo for the past eight years.
“Water polo is a very tough and dangerous sport, and I don’t think many people realize this. I love it, though,” she said. “I just wish more people got to see us play because we don’t have a pool on campus. We have to go to North East for practice, and our ‘home’ games are usually at Gannon or Penn State Behrend.”
Among all the colleges and universities in Division II, Grimes chose Mercyhurst to further both her academic and sports career.
“I didn’t really want to go to a DI school even though I had a few offers. I really loved the campus here. It was so beautiful, and I loved the small school and how I was able to know people a lot closer here,” Grimes said.
The Lakers are practicing hard six times a week at North East and are trying to bounce back from the three straight losses they suffered in the Southern Championship against Harvard, Brown and George Washington University.
The Lakers’ next home game is at Gannon University on Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m.