Luis Orantes Sun Staff on 10/31/2018
Women's water polo head coach Alissa Mashburn is back at Southwestern College after a six-year hiatus from coaching. During that time, she took a break to raise her children while her husband battled fires as a wildlands firefighter.
Mashburn returns to the sidelines ready to take on the challenge of being the head coach.
"I have just really fallen in love with the level of play, this level of competition," Mashburn said. "The balance of being a student and an athlete, working and commitment to the team."
Assistant coach Andrea Alexander said she admires Mashburn's approach.
"The way she explains things is very patient," Alexander said. "She bonds with the players and she knows the sport really well."
Alexander added that a lot has changed from last year and the team has a new energy.
"We only have one returner on the team, basically a brand new team and a brand new head coach," Alexander said. "The dynamics of the team, the coaching staff and the pool. It is just a brand new water polo team."
Expectations from Mashburn lie less in wins and losses and more in the competive spirit game in and game out.
"We want to be competitive and not be a team that gets walked over," Alexander said.
Freshman Nickie Torres compared Mashburn's impact to that of a mother.
"We are all comfortable with her, I think of her as a mother figure and everybody thinks that too," Torres said.
Mashburn is a local product and enjoyed success at every level of competition. She graduated from Bonita Vista High School, where she was named All-Metro team, co-captain, and the United States Marines Corps Distinguished Athlete award in 2000.
Mashburn re-enrolled at SWC in 2003 following a three-year break. During her community college career, Mashburn was named All-Pacific Coast Conference team in 2000.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from California State University, East Bay.
Mashburn also excelled in water polo at Cal State East Bay. She was awarded first-team All-American and Western Water Polo Association All-Tournament Team Honorable Mention in 2004. In 2005, she helped lead the Pioneers to a second place finish in the Division III National Championship.
Mashburn hopes to instill that winning attitude into all players. With the team in knowledgeable and caring hands, optimism runs high for the Jaguars' future.