Mercyhurst Set to Return to Easterns in 2009
ERIE, Pa. -- After enjoying one of
the best seasons in program history, the 2009 edition of Mercyhurst
women’s water polo looks to build upon last year’s
success and build momentum for a second straight berth to the
The Lakers posted a 14-9 overall record in 2008 and captured third-place at the CWPA Western Division Championship before earning the program’s first-ever berth to the Eastern Division Championship, becoming the first Division II squad to earn such recognition since 2005 when the tournament was narrowed from a field of 12 to an eight-team field.
Head coach Curtis Robinette was tabbed by his peers as the CWPA Western Division Coach of the Year while freshman phenom Rachel Griepsma earned Western Division Rookie of the Year honors. At the helm of the Lakers program for his seventh-straight year, Robinette will look to Griepsma to help lead a deep recruiting class that is expected to bolster an already strong nucleus of returners.
“Rachel is a very special player,” says Robinette. “I know her competitive drive will raise the level of play for the entire team especially the newcomers.”
Griepsma finished her freshman
campaign totaling a Mercyhurst freshman record 80 goals and led the
nation in goals per game average at 3.9. She was also named CWPA
All-Western Division First Team. Her 80 goals is the second-highest
single season total in Mercyhurst history, and she is the first
freshman to lead the team in scoring since Ann Markley scored 52 in
2002. Griepsma is also the only Laker to garner first team honors
as a freshman.
“We have a lot of new faces that bring much needed athleticism,” says Robinette. “However, we will learn quickly if they are ready to play at a high level.”
Newcomers and returners get their first test at what Robinette describes as a “brutal” schedule when they travel to the Princeton Invitational on Feb. 7.
“I feel the difficulty (of the schedule) is necessary to put us in a position to again qualify for Easterns,” says Robinette. “Very few non-Division I schools have the opportunity to compete at the Eastern Championships and since we qualified with an at-large bid, I feel many teams are taking notice of what we are doing here in Erie.”