April 21, 2009

Jessica Coy's Chance Meeting with High School Coach Ignited Unforgettable Career

April 21, 2009

By Nicholas Bocanegra, Athletic Media Relations Intern

Northridge, Ca. - With 54 goals and counting, senior Jessica Coy has been a terror in the water for opposing players who have had the unenviable task of attempting to contain her.

With 160 goals in her scoring career at Cal State Northridge, Coy has the third-highest career scoring total in school history. However, Coy's remarkable water polo career may not have taken shape if not for a chance encounter.

An avid swimmer since she was nine years old, Coy has always felt comfortable in the water. As an 8th grader, Coy participated in a swimming day competition at a high school meet. In the competition, all of the boys raced against all of the girls. Being one of the fastest girls, she defeated the fastest boy swimmer. The competition may have been an exhibition, but her performance did not go unnoticed.

"When I beat the guy, it so happened that the high school water polo coach (Bryan Chuckie Roth) was on deck and told me afterward that I was signing up for water polo," said Coy who has been the scoring leader for the Matadors this season. "I told him no way. I wanted to only be in swimming because I wasn't into the contact that comes with water polo."

Shy about joining water polo at first, she would eventually relent and join the water polo team at Temple City High School where she would take part in back-to-back CIF Division III Championships in 2003 and in 2004. Her most successful year in high school career came in 2005 when she was named MVP of the Rio Hondo League and earned the title of water polo Athlete of the Year.

From there she would join the water polo team at Cal State Northridge where Coy has scored 30 or more goals in each of her four years. This year, her 54 goals are fourth-best in the Big West Conference.

While Coy has scored her share of goals, her goal at the beginning of year was to be more of a playmaker than a finisher.

"I haven't always been the goal scorer. I have thought of myself as 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."

While much is made of her ability to score goals, Coy will end her four-year career as the school record holder in career assists.

Despite her initial hesitation to take part in the contact sport, she has welcome the physical elements throughout her career.

"Water polo is a good place to get your aggression out," said Coy who considers herself an attacker on team. "I'm such an offensive minded person that I try to score a goal whenever I can."

While her success has been great throughout her collegiate career, Coy remains supportive about the accomplishments of her teammates this season. The team's combined effort has led them to a 20-14 overall record, a national ranking, a share of the Big West Conference regular season title, and the top-seed at the upcoming Big West Conference Tournament in Stockton.

"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 several others that can pick up the scoring load."

Along with Coy, Tara McGinley, Whitney Delgado, Sydney Sonoda, Kirra Kylander, Kristin McLaughlin, Allison Pierce, and Renee Gargiulo each have at least 20 goals or more this season, giving Cal State Northridge one of the deepest scoring water polo teams in the country.

As her collegiate career slowly comes to a close, Coy feels proud for what she has accomplished during her time on the water polo team.

"Being one of the top scorers in CSUN history makes me feel 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."

Before the Matadors final home game of the season last Sunday, Coy along with fellow seniors, McGinley and Devin Sloan were honored in a senior ceremony that highlighted their respective collegiate careers. Although, she realizes that one portion of her life is coming to a close and another is beginning, Coy still has mixed emotions about her collegiate career coming to an end.

"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 much of my life so I'm not sure how I will be without it."

Matador head coach Molly Barnes has coached Jessica for four seasons and admires the leadership that Jessica displayed in-and-out of the pool.

"Jessica has been a tremendous leader," said Barnes. "She is fiercely competitive and one of the most passionate players I've ever coached. She is also one of the hardest workers in the program and deserves her place in the record books."

Despite her career coming to an end, her extraordinary four-year run at Northridge will be remembered as her scoring totals will be in the record books for years to come.

Amazing to realize that a remarkable career took shape over a chance encounter in a high school pool several years ago, but Coy feels in her heart that her love for water polo depended on that meeting.

"After meeting the water polo coach that day, he has kept in contact with me ever since. I don't know if I ever would have played water polo if I never met him."

Congratulations Jessica on a wonderful career at Cal State Northridge.