Imagine your boss walks into your office and says, “The good news is we’re not firing you today, the bad news is that part of your job is now helping to train the new employee who will eventually replace you.”
What would your reaction be? The analogy isn’t perfect, but that’s basically what Long Beach State men’s water polo goaltender Marwan Darwish and Long Beach State women’s soccer goalkeeper Ashley Seymour are dealing with, and their teams are better because of their mature approach.
Darwish was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, where he played handball, tennis, judo and water polo. The undersized, 5’11” goalie just applied to LBSU and showed up on the pool deck almost three years ago. LBSU coach Gavin Arroyo gave Darwish a two-week tryout, and he won the goalie job.
He went on to win the Golden Coast Conference Tournament MVP last year, but this year he’s got a much more difficult job with the arrival of talented international transfer Andrej Bosanac from Montenegro.
“It’s hard because you’re competing with this guy for your spot, but Marwan has experience with what it’s like to be foreign and not knowing a lot of things like food, language and school,” Arroyo said. “Marwan is showing he’s a great person by helping a guy take his spot. He’s done that and we’ve made him a team captain. He’s been great with that.”
Both Darwish and Bosanac have played already this season for No. 9 LBSU, and the same is true for soccer goalie Ashley Seymour and Spanish transfer Marta Alemany Sanchez. Seymour was tabbed to be the starter in the offseason and battled with Alemany Sanchez for playing time throughout training.
Seymour was supposed to start the season opener at home against No. 4 UCLA, but she got sick. That allowed Alemany Sanchez to seize the moment, and she did, making a career-high seven saves in a close loss.
“I didn’t expect it, you never want that for any of your teammates,” Alemany Sanchez said. “But of course that opportunity came to me and I grabbed it and played the best I could.”
“It was probably the most frustrating thing ever,” Seymour said. “I had worked so hard over summer, UCLA was a big game and my family came. I didn’t get to play and I lost my spot. But it just made me realize that everything happens for a reason. If right now isn’t my time to start then clearly I still have something to prove.”
Alemany Sanchez said that the competition in practice is healthy for the whole team.
“Of course, on the field there is a lot of competition,” Alemany Sanchez said. “But we support each other and that’s something that is helping us grow both personally and as soccer players.”
Seymour started the most recent match against UCF, but it’s unclear which goalie will start for LBSU when it hosts No. 7 BYU on Thursday night.
“The more she becomes comfortable she’s better,” Seymour said. “If she’s giving it her all in a culture she’s not used to, if she’s able to overcome that, it just pushes me to give 100 percent more. She pushes us all.”
Last month we wrote about the declining participation in high school football, and why the number of high school football players has dropped from 103,725 in 2015 to 91,305 this season. What we didn’t tell you is how that’s going to have a trickle-up effect. That started on Saturday for Long Beach City College when they improved to 2-1 because LA Valley College was forced to forfeit due to low numbers in the program.
Southern California Football Association commissioner Jim Sartoris said, via statement: “Valley has informed the SCFA that it can not field a team for this week’s game because of significant injuries and low numbers. By SCFA Bylaws, Long Beach will be awarded a forfeiture win.”
LBCC coach Brett Peabody tweeted that it made him sick to his stomach that his team prepared all week but wouldn’t get to take the field to compete on Saturday.
However, there may be a silver lining, because now the Vikings have two weeks to prepare for a trip to No. 1 Riverside this Saturday.
The Long Beach State women’s volleyball team is making a rare appearance at Walter Pyramid this weekend when they host No. 13 Hawaii at 7 p.m. on Friday. It’s the first time the Beach has been at home in eight matches, and it will be their last match at Walter Pyramid until they host Cal State Fullerton in Big West Conference action on Oct. 18.
Women’s Water Polo
Sophomore attacker Jillian Schultz scored 23 goals and grabbed 17 steals for Long Beach City College women’s water polo as the Vikings opened the season with four wins at the Riverside City College Tournament last week. She obviously didn’t play every minute of every game, but if she did, Schultz scored once every five minutes.
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