Dos Pueblos High School senior Kiley Neushul, the star player of the four-time CIF Champion Chargers girls water polo team, has been named Presidio Sports’ Sports Figure of the Month for February, 2011.
What Neushul and the Chargers completed on February 26 was truly remarkable.
Neushul led Dos Pueblos to its third straight CIF Division I crown as the centerpiece of a team that has won 67 straight matches running. Kiley put an exclamation mark on her prep career by scoring nine goals in her final high school game at the CIF Championship, and is expected to be be named All-CIF MVP for an astounding third time.
The Stanford-bound Neushul is currently out of town for several weeks training with the senior USA Water Polo team, which hopes to be the first USA women’s water polo team to win Gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Words used to describe her impact in the pool include: dominating … relentless … terrific … amazing … intelligent… leadership. Hear what others have to say about the impact Neushul has had on the water polo community over the past four years.
For those who know Neushul, know that her impact goes far beyond sport.
“Kiley is the personification of the type of person we want at Dos Pueblos – a great student and athlete who always gives her best effort and who is a wonderful ambassador of our students and our school in the community,” says Dan Feldhaus, DPHS Athletic Director.
These sentiments were shared by Chris Parrish, coach of Neushul’s 2011 Championship Charger team.
“Kiley is a gifted athlete who is extremely humble. If you know her, then you know that any award that she receives – she would rather see it go to someone else,” Parrish stated.
Neushul’s reputation is well-known in the local sports community, as she is regularly nominated for the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable’s Female Athlete of the Week by the local sports writers and, in fact, has won the award on multiple occasions.
Praise of Neushul’s personal and athletic attributes comes from many directions.
“I’ve coached Kiley in Club and she is as talented, smart and as hard-working as any player I’ve ever coached,” says Mark Walsh, Santa Barbara Water Polo Club Coach and Head Coach for Santa Barbara High School. “Since she was 14, she’s played up (in older age groups) and still held her own.”
It was Neushul’s sudden, back-hand power goal in sudden death overtime vs. the Dons in late January that saved, by a score of 10-9, a blemish on DP’s record and kept their winning streak alive, then at a mere 53 games.
Neushul is the consummate team player who makes her teammates better – that’s according to the players themselves.
“We’ve played together for so long. She makes me a better player and we lean on each other. And she has been my best friend for as long as I can remember,” said Tiera Schroeder, also a four-year CIF Champ, who is attending Cal Berkeley next year.
And the younger players, such as first-time CIF Champ and frosh goalie Britten Vilander; she has learned valuable lessons from Neushul that should serve her well in her high school playing career.
“I really respect Kiley for all the things she has to deal with from opposing teams. We hear it and see it in the pool. But she always keeps her composure and handles it with a lot of class. I will always admire what she’s taught me,” Vilander said.
Jamie Neushul, a sophomore and a two-year CIF champion who has never lost a high school game, credits her older sister, Kiley, with also teaching her many things.
“I’ve learned a lot from her – not just in the pool. She has always been there for me,” Jamie said. Next year, the younger Neushul will tap on that experience to help lead DP’s title defense.
And while the older Neushul has her sights set on making the Olympic team and later attending Stanford in the fall, it’s very clear that her future is, indeed, very bright.
Making a positive difference in the pool … in the classroom … on campus … around town … and leading by example, Kiley Neushul has surely left her championship mark on the Santa Barbara sports community.