California
Today, 2:30 p.m.
Berkeley, Calif.

Community and communication are the two things the women’s water polo team has been focusing on in preparation for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship Tournament.

This weekend, the team will face three days of grueling competition against three of the highest-ranked teams in the country to determine who will take home the championship.

Although the Bruins’ strength is in their speed, coach Brandon Brooks stressed the importance of talking to each other and staying together throughout games.

“We need for our strength to be communication,” Brooks said. “We need to talk to each other. That will help us adjust to anything.”

In practice, the team made efforts to be more vocal in order to improve its unity, and the Bruins said they were getting into the groove of it.

“Our focus is community,” said sophomore attacker Emily Donohoe. “We have been working on staying with each other from the first whistle to the very last one.”

Despite the tough competition and higher stake games, the Bruins maintain they will not be phased.

In fact, the team has made a point of not looking at this weekend as the be-all and end-all tournament.

“I’m seeing this as any other tournament,” said sophomore attacker Danielle Ferraro.

She is trying not to focus too much on the fact that it is the MPSF championships.

“I focus a lot in practice but when I’m out of the pool, I try not to focus too much on the pressures of the game because I don’t want to get too nervous or too caught up,” Donohoe said.

The Bruins will face the California Golden Bears today to kick off the tournament, but they will not take comfort in the fact that they have played – and beaten – this team two times before.

“We haven’t seen them in a while and they’re practicing just as hard as we are to get better,” Donohoe said.

While focusing on fine-tuning their communication and working together as one team, Donohoe said the one thing driving the Bruins is their desire to prove themselves.

“We just want to do the best we can as a team and prove to people that we deserve to be there,” Donohoe said.

The team is looking at this weekend as another stepping stone toward the goal of competing in the NCAA championships in two weeks.

“We will continue to play as hard as we’ve been playing these past couple of weeks,” Brooks said. “Every team is going to be playing for their season, and it’s going to be three really hard-fought games.”