Conference championships peppered with Santa Barbara poloists

Stanford's Kiley Neushul and Cal's Tiera Schroeder - former teammates in high school and club.

Stanford’s Kiley Neushul and Cal’s Tiera Schroeder – former teammates in high school and club.

As the 2014 women’s collegiate season comes to an end, 23 Santa Barbara Water Polo alumni will compete for a berth to the NCAA Championship tournament held at the University of Southern California on May 9-11. This weekend’s conference championships will determine what teams will make the NCAA tournament.

In the East, Charlotte Hendrix (SBWPC/SBHS) will help lead the seventh seeded Harvard Crimson at the 2014 Collegiate Water Polo Associate Championship (CWPA) tournament held at Bucknell University. Hanna Koper (SBWPC/SMHS), a freshman at Brown University, is participating with the fifth seeded Bears. Amanda Redfern (SBWPC/DPHS), a senior at Indiana University, helped lead the Hoosiers to their second consecutive conference championship and a first place seeding at the CWPA championship. Chandler Vilander (SBWPC/DPHS) and the George Washington University Colonials fell just short of qualifying for the CWPA championship after placing fifth in the CWPA Southern Division Championship.

Rose Koper (SBWPC/SMHS), a junior at Claremont McKenna College helped the Athenas to a second place finish in conference play with a 7-1 record. Claremont is seeded second at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship. Claremont’s only conference loss came to top seeded Pomona-Pitzer 7-8 after Koper scored a goal in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

Senior Leah Gonzales (SBWPC/SBHS) and sophomore Laurel Kistler (SBWPC/DPHS) of the University of California at San Diego will lead the first seeded Tritons at the 2014 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) championships. Gonzales scored two goals in UCSD’s win over arch-rival San Diego State to claim the 13h Annual Harper Cup (UCSD’s first ever) and was named the Cup’s Most Valuable Player. Brittny Hummel (SBWPC/SMHS) a junior at Sonoma State is also competing at the WWPA championship with the fourth seeded Seawolves. Hummel scored a team leading 26 goals this season and was named to the WWPA First Team All-Conference.

Noelle Mann (SBWPC/VHS), a junior at the University of the Pacific, will compete in the inaugural Golden Coast Conference (GCC) championship for the fifth seeded Tigers. The Big West Tournament will feature a host of SBWPC veterans including fifth seeded UCSB’s Miranda Schrader (SBWPC/RHS), Sophie Trabucco (SBWPC/SBHS), Tess Wardell (SBWPC/VHS), Jade Wentz Fitzgerald (SBWPC/SMHS), and Carly Christian (SBWPC/NHHS). Makenzy Fowler (SBWPC/SBHS) and Jade Arner (SBWPC/VHS) of Cal State Northridge will lead the second seeded Matadors at the 2014 Big West Championship.

The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) championship will feature Kiley and Jamie Neushul (SBWPC/DPHS) from top seeded Stanford and the trio of Sami Hill, Kodi Hill (SBPWC/DPHS), and Kelsey O’Brien (SBWPC/SBHS) from second seeded UCLA. UCLA’s assistant coach is Molly Cahill (SBWPC/SBHS) a four-time NCAA champion for the Bruins. Stanford enters the tournament on an upswing after conference wins over defending national champion USC and UCLA. The Hill sisters broke the Bruins’ six-game losing streak to USC handing the Trojans their second loss of the season and first ever at the new Uytengsu Aquatic Center. Sami Hill had 13 blocks to anchor the Bruins in goal. Tiera Schroeder (DPHS/DPHS) and Madeline Trabucco (SBWPC/SBHS) will lead Cal at the MPSF tournament. Trabucco is starting in goal as a freshman for the fourth seeded Bears. Alisa Argend (SBWPC/VHS) and Ashlea Coski (SBWPC/CHS) will represent fifth seeded San Jose State at the MPSF championship. The Spartans finished conference play in a three-way tie with Cal and Arizona State University.

SBWPC players garnered a number of individual honors during the 2014 Season. In addition to Hummel’s First Team All WWPA honor and Gonzalez’ Harper Cup MVP award, Kodi Hill and Kiley Neushul were named MPSF Player of the Week and freshmen Madeline Trabucco and Jamie Neushul received MPSF Newcomer of the Week awards. Conference champions will be awarded automatic berths at the 2014 NCAA Championship Tournament to be held at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center on 9-11 May.