Tuesday, September 19

Women’s water polo excited for coach, future

Not surprisingly, the news had a profound impact on the team.

“It was an absolute shock,” senior goalkeeper Brittany Fullen said. “It definitely took some time to sink in, but some of us have been with Adam for four years now, and we couldn’t be happier for him.”

While the announcement surely stunned Fullen and fellow seniors Anne Belden, Tanya Gandy and Katie Rulon, Krikorian’s departure will have a more tangible impact on the future of the underclassmen. This year’s squad does not have any juniors, so all of the remaining 18 players will be playing at least half their collegiate careers with a new coach.

“It was so hard at first to realize that we’re going to have to see him go,” sophomore defender Megan Burmeister said. “We have a major adjustment period ahead of us, but for now we’re going to have to stay focused on the task at hand and take things one game at a time.”

While the players agree that their goals have not changed, they now have additional motivation for bringing home another championship.

“Of course we always have our eye on winning the championship,” Fullen said. “This is something we want as a team accomplishment, but it would also be awesome if we could send (Krikorian) out with another title.”

With the announcement coming before the conclusion of the Bruins’ schedule and crucial late-season matchups with the nations’ top two teams, Stanford and USC, Krikorian admitted that he felt the news was a bit of a distraction in the ensuing weeks. However, Burmeister felt that after the initial shock, the news led to a different kind of reaction.

“We really bonded together as a team after the fact,” she said. “It was tough but I think that we grew together, and we know that we still have work to do.”

SUN SETS ON SUNSET: When Saturday’s UCLA-USC match comes to a close, Sunset Canyon Recreation Center will be officially retired as the home of Bruin water polo. Next season, all of the aquatics teams will compete in the Spieker Aquatic Center, currently under construction but on schedule to be ready by fall of this year.

Krikorian believed he spoke for all parties involved when he said that “we are truly excited about the prospect of having a first-class venue to showcase our teams.”

The Center will feature an all-purpose pool, LED scoreboard, “Champions Wall” honoring past successes, and seating for 600 fans.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to play (at Spieker),” Burmeister said. “Everything about it looks absolutely amazing, and playing under the lights and in front of all those fans is going to be so much fun.”

However, she said she will still hold a place in her heart for Sunset Canyon, UCLA water polo’s home for the last 44 years.

“We practiced here every day and I’ve already had some pretty memorable experiences in this pool,” Burmeister said. “Of course we’ll miss it, but we’ve got some great new things coming.”

SEARCH FOR SUCCESSOR ON HOLD: The search for Krikorian’s successor will not officially begin until after the current women’s season has ended, a decision he believes to be beneficial to all parties.

“The administration has decided it would be in everyone’s best interest to wait,” he said. “It would be too much of a distraction for me, for the players and for the potential candidates.”

According to Burmeister, whoever is tabbed to fill Krikorian’s vacated shoes won’t have problems with motivation.

“At this point, we can’t focus on who our next coach may or may not be,” she said. “We just hope that he or she wants to win as badly as we do.”

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