April 17, 2009
How did you get started in water polo?
In 8th grade, I had a swimming day competition at a high school where it was boys versus girls. In the competition, I beat the guy I was racing against and by coincidence a high school water polo coach was watching me race. He told me afterward that I was signing up for water polo immediately. He kept in contact with me and that's how I pretty much got started with water polo. I'm not sure if I would be in water polo if not for that meeting.
Why water polo and not other sports?
I like the team atmosphere and that everybody on the team is important to the success of the group. Scoring a goal in a game is such a great feeling because your entire team is behind you. That type of feeling you don't get in other sports. Water polo is a small group of six people that are all close in comparison to other sports, where it's mostly about the individual.
What attracted you to water polo?
Well it's always good to get your aggression out in the water, but aside from that, scoring has to be the best part. I'm such an offensive minded person that I try to score a goal whenever I can.
Jessica, you currently lead the team with 50 goals and you are fourth in the Big West Conference in scoring, how does it feel to be one of the top scorers in the entire conference?
I haven't always been the goal scorer so it's definitely an accomplishment. I have thought of myself has an assist person and at the beginning of the year one of my goals was to break the assist record but it turned out that I began to score more then dish out assists. It feels great considering it's my senior year and that I'm going out on top.
What is your role on the team?
I'm an attacker and I am always the person leading a play, looking for the open person. I am able to see plays before they happen.
With 50 goals already, you have scored 11 more goals than all of last season. What improvements to your game have you made this season in comparison to last?
I have been asked to take the five meters, which is the penalty shot this season. Also, I have been more confident because I'm one of the older players on the team. I think it's hard being younger on a team with older girls because you are hesitant about which shots you take. This year, being the oldest one, I found myself taking the shots more often. It feels great knowing that I have stepped up this season.
You have 156 goals in your collegiate career, which is third best in school history. What does it mean to you to be one of the best scorers in CSUN history?
It feels really good because I am putting a stamp on my college career. It's a great accomplishment that my name will be up there with the other top scorers. Hopefully, I can keep my spot!
Along with fellow seniors Tara McGinley and Devin Sloan, you will be honored in a ceremony before the final home match-ups of your collegiate career. How will it feel to take to the pool, knowing it will be for the last time at Northridge?
It's bittersweet. There are no words to describe it. It's sad because I know it's the end, but I realized I did all I could during my career. I've had water polo throughout my life so I'm not sure how I will be without it.
I couldn't be happier for them. Normally there are two players that score the majority of the goals, but this year we have so many people who can score. It's comforting to know that if someone is having a bad game, there are about four others that can pick up the scoring load. This year we deserve to win the Big West because we are such a balanced team. All six of our starters have at least 20 goals or more.
How much of an advantage is it having one of the best goalkeepers in the country in Jillian Stapf?
It's definitely a benefit. She has helped our team defensively making us the number one team in defense. Having one of the best goalies can develop a player into a better shooter. With Jill, we have developed skills in how we place the ball.
The Matadors are currently the 13th -ranked team in the country. What has made your team so difficult to defeat this season?
I'm not sure if it finally clicked for us, but our defense definitely has come through this year. Also, we lost two of our leading scorers last year, but we've had people step up and score those goals for us this season.
What other interests do you have outside the pool?
Watching movies, going to watch the Galaxy and the Dodgers. You can always find me at sporting events.