Dorottya Telek adds single-season scoring record to her growing list of accomplishments

Photo courtesy of CSUN Athletic Communications.

Charlie Gonzalez, Sports Writer

On March 7, Dorottya Telek broke CSUN’s single-season water polo scoring record. She knew it was coming, but didn’t realize right away that she had done it. She scored her 81st goal of the season against the Villanova Wildcats, taking the record from Whitney Delgado, who scored 80 times in 2010.

Telek, who goes by the nickname “Dodi,” was aware of the record at the beginning of the season, keeping it in the back of her mind.

“I didn’t try to put extra pressure on myself in case I didn’t reach it, but the closer I got, I began counting,” she said.

Going into the matchup against Villanova, she was four goals shy of breaking the record.

With less than three minutes remaining in the second quarter, she knew she only had one goal left.

“When I scored, it took a few hours to realize it,” Telek said. “I was too occupied with seeing the reactions from my teammates and coaches. It was an overwhelming feeling to see those on the bench jumping and screaming at me.”

Telek scored the record-breaking goal with five minutes and 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Matadors an 11-6 lead.

Telek said she saved footage of the game and will watch it over and over again.

Breaking a school record in the NCAA is no small feat. CSUN Athletics has its own Hall of Fame, and Telek has two years left to add to her already decorated resume, which includes being the first freshman in CSUN women’s water polo history to be named to the All-Big West First Team.

She also led the Big West Conference in goals scored, 77, and points, 108, while ranking second in steals, 35, and third in assists, 31, in 2022. By the time she’s done, Telek may be the first water polo player to earn a plaque in the Premier America Credit Union Arena.

“Honestly, I haven’t even thought about that,” she said. “I’ve seen that wall but haven’t thought about making it there. It’s now a new goal of mine. It would be nice.”

Four regular season games remain before the Big West quarterfinals. CSUN holds a 0-3 conference record, with all three losses coming on a three-game losing streak that started after the victory against Villanova.

“There’s always room for improvement,” Telek said. “I would say the most important part is team defense. Sometimes we’re out of focus early in a game. Because we only have one goalie, practicing shooting drills with so many people in the pool doesn’t reflect reality.”

Telek was born on September 14, 2001, in Budapest, Hungary. From a very young age, she seemed to have her athletic future etched in stone.

“I basically spent my whole life in water. When I was three months old, my parents drove me to the swimming pool,” she said. “I continued swimming until age nine. That’s when my brother influenced me to begin playing water polo.”

Since then, she hasn’t slowed down. While attending high school at Obudai Arpad Gimnazium, Telek earned a spot on the junior national team and helped them win the Hungarian junior and senior championships.

Before her college journey began, she participated in American water polo tournaments during the summer of 2019. She caught the attention of recruiters and scouts.

“I received two other offers besides CSUN: one from CSU Long Beach and one from Princeton.”

Telek’s brief trip to America for the summer felt manageable and had an unintended effect on her. She explained how living so far away from her family and friends seemed unimaginable at first.

“I couldn’t see myself living that far away from my family for four years. They’re really the center of my life,” she said. “But the three months I spent here made me enjoy the environment so much, I decided to accept the opportunity if I received scholarship offers. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I love traveling to new places.”

Her decision to commit to CSUN over CSU Long Beach and Princeton wasn’t because of its geographical location or city, but the people she’d be around.

“I instantly loved my coach, Matt Warshaw. He’s such a genuine and good person. That’s someone I’d love to play for,” she said. “My best friend from Hungary is living here too, so it makes it much more enjoyable to experience college in America together.”

Due to the pandemic, Telek’s freshman year of college had unforeseen complications.

“I wasn’t allowed to come to America because of the COVID pandemic,” she said. “I chose to start school because I didn’t want to lose a year from my life. I wanted to start as soon as possible.”

When told she’d have to take classes online, she remained satisfied with her choice of school, though the new circumstances made it challenging.

“It was definitely one of the hardest periods in my life because there was a nine-hour time difference,” she said. “My classes went from 9 p.m. to 12 in the morning.”

While learning over Zoom, she played on a club water polo team and had long practices that began early in the morning.

“Practice lasted approximately five or six hours, and it was hard to balance water polo and school. I didn’t sleep a lot that first year,” she recalled.

After spending the fall of 2021 taking online courses in Hungary, she arrived on campus for the first time the following spring and resumed her academic journey with a major in financial analysis.

“After graduation, I don’t have exact plans of which institution I want to work at,” she said. “I can imagine myself becoming an accountant or risk analyst, but I still have a lot of time to figure it out. When I go home, I’ll be able to search for the best opportunities.”