SBAC water polo players kick off their college season

Dos Pueblos grads Alex Hill and Tiera Schroeder are playing for No. 2-ranked Cal. (Photos by Peter Neushul)

Santa Barbara Aquatics Club was well presented at NCAA Division I collegiate tournaments held at UCSB and UC Berkeley over the weekend.

UCSB’s Siena Van Alphen (Dos Pueblos High/SBAC), Tahnia Mark (DPHS/SBAC), and Kacey Creek (Royal High/SBAC) squared off against Arizona State University and Mackenzy Fowler (Santa Barbara High/SBAC) Friday at UCSB’s Campus pool where the sixth-ranked Sun Devils prevailed 12-7.

Saturday morning the 17th-ranked Gauchos met Sonoma State and Brittny Hummel (San Marcos High/SBAC) in a game where the home team dominated from start to finish. Hummel, a freshman, scored her first collegiate goal for the Seawolves in a 12-9 loss to Concordia in the afternoon.

Santa Barbara High alum Makenzy Fowler, left, plays for Arizona State and Dos Pueblos grad Tahnia Mark plays for UCSB.

Meanwhile, ASU and Fowler won a 9-8 squeaker over No. 7 UC Irvine after leading by as many as four goals in the early going. In addition to Fowler, ASU features a number of foreign stars from Australia, Hungary, New Zealand, and China. The Sun Devils are expected challenge traditional leaders in the tough Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

Amanda Redfern (DPHS/SBAC) and 9th-ranked Indiana University lost a close match with UC Irvine on Saturday and then met No. 19 Cal State Northridge Sunday morning. Redfern scored two clutch goals in the final three minutes to lead Indiana to an 8-7 win over the Matadors in her home town. The Hoosiers then met host UCSB Sunday afternoon in front of an overflow crowd at Campus Pool. Indiana prevailed 8-7 after coming back from a two-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Redfern, a sophomore, scored in the second overtime period to help ice the win.

At UC Berkeley’s 2012 Speedo Invitational No. 2-ranked Cal defeated Pomona College and Cal Baptist by large margins on Friday. Tiera Schroeder (DPHS/SBAC) and Alex Hill (DPHS/SBAC) both play for the Bears. Schroeder, a freshman, scored and had two steals in a close game with LMU on Saturday. Hill and Schroeder each scored three goals in Cal’s win over Cal State Monterey in the nightcap.

Santa Barbara Aquatics Club alums Alisa Argend of Ventura High and Ashlea Coski of Cabrillo High are playing college water polo at fifth-ranked San Jose State.

Top ranked Stanford University played its first game of the season vs. 11th-ranked Loyola Marymount University. Freshman Kiley Neushul converted a penalty shot for Stanford’s first goal of 2012. Defending national champion Stanford is among the fastest teams in the nation. Junior Alexis Lee (Ventura High/SBAC), a speedster at Ventura High School and MVP for SBAC at the 2009 National Club Championships, scored two goals for the Cardinal over the weekend.

Neushul finished with six goals on a pair of hat tricks in a 17-2 rout of LMU and a 19-7 win over 15th-ranked UC Davis 19-7.

On Tuesday, Neushul was honored as the MPSF Newcomer of the Week. She shared the team lead in goals scored over the weekend with fellow freshman Ashley Grossman. Grossman, a two-meter,  was among those nominated for the MPSF’s Player of the Week honor which was won by Arizona State’s Alicia Brightwell.

Junior Jessica Morelos (DPHS/SBAC) played almost the entire game for LMU and is in the best condition of her career as a defender for the Lions. Freshman Nicole Morelos (DPHS/SBAC) also played for LMU and scored her first goal of the new season in the team’s victory over Pomona College on Friday. LMU lost a hotly contested 9-7 match to Cal in the afternoon game.

San Jose State also competed at the Speedo Invitational, and sophomore left-handers Ashlea Coski (Cabrillo HS/SBAC) and Alisa Argend (Ventura HS/SBAC) saw action for the 5th-ranked Spartans who won a close matches against UC Davis Saturday morning and over Cal Baptist University that afternoon.

All of these SBAC alumni played on the national championship club teams and are now contributing at many of the top collegiate water polo programs in the United States.

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