On the cusp of history, the Ventura College women's water polo team is turning the page this fall.
No women's water polo team has won three straight Western State Conference titles, but the two-time defending champion Pirates will attempt the feat with a team consisting almost entirely of first-year local talent.
"It's a very interesting group," said coach Mary Giles.
Without a returning starter, Ventura (7-4) is leaning on 17 freshmen.
Driver Courtney Thomas, a Westlake High graduate, is the lone sophomore in the starting lineup.
While experience may not be a strength, Giles will be relying on a roster that is both deep and long.
"A lot of time, I have some tiny little girls," said Giles. "This team has some really good size and a lot of subs."
In front of freshman goalie Andrea Mallul (Rio Mesa), Ventura has two quality hole set defenders in 6-foot Melenia Ashley (Buena) and 5-9 Raylene Morales (Pacifica).
Former Rio Mesa High goalie Lindsay Wolny, a transfer from UC Santa Barbara, has also contributed defensively after making the transition to the field.
"They are long," said Giles. "I talk to them all the time about how much I love their long arms, because they'll swoop in and steal a ball."
A pair of former Pacifica High stars, Samantha Ebberson and Vanessa Magallanes, lead the attack. The duo combined for seven goals as the Pirates opened WSC play with a 16-5 win at Santa Monica Wednesday.
Ventura expects to be pushed in WSC play by a veteran Citrus team. The race will depend on how quickly the young talent matures.
"Without having a lot of sophomores to lead, it makes it very difficult," said Giles. "But we should be right in there."