BY ALEXIS PORTER
As part of a University-wide initiative to attract a more diverse student population, the McKendree University Athletic Department has added two new teams for the 2016-17 season. This year a variety of new bearcats will compete for the men and women’s water polo team. Water polo is a team water sport. The game consists of four quarters in which the two teams attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into their opponent’s goal, with the team with the most goals at the end of the game winning the match.
Greg Emde, who has over twenty years of experience in playing and coaching water polo, has been selected to lead both the men and women’s teams as head coach. “This is an exciting time,” says Emde. “It’s exciting to be a part of a brand-new venture at McKendree, and it’s exciting that I will see and help this water polo program grow from day one. I’m thankful to McKendree President Dr. James Dennis, to Athletic Director Chuck Brueggemann and to the administration at McKendree for this opportunity.” He was previously head coach of the Lindenwood University men’s water polo team, where he led them to a College Water Polo Association (CWPA) national championship last fall.
“McKendree is a hidden gem,” says Emde, “and it reminds me of the same type of atmosphere I experienced in college. It will be a very busy time as we take our first steps and build two new teams, but it will be a chance to grow together and be a part of something very special.”
Both the men and women’s rosters feature young talent from all over the nation and the world. Between the two teams, over 10 states and five countries are represented. Freshman Valerie Sorondo, a Florida native, is eager to be a part of the Women’s Water Polo inaugural season.
“My main goals for this season,” says Sorondo, “is just to see how it’s like to play in college. I want to improve individually but also as a team!” Sorondo says she can’t wait to see what’s in store for her and her team once they hit the water.
Likewise, Emde is eager to kick off the season. “I cannot wait to step in and help make McKendree a known entity in the world of collegiate water polo.”