WWP: Stanford tops UCLA in NCAA water polo championship

Sisters Kiley Neushul, left, and Jamie Neushul pose with the NCAA Championship trophy.

Sisters Kiley Neushul, left, and Jamie Neushul pose with the NCAA Championship trophy.

Dos Pueblos graduate Sami Hill of UCLA shut down Stanford’s power offense for much of the first half in Sunday’s Division I National Championship game at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Hill, who allowed only one natural goal in UCLA’s 5-3 semi-final victory over defending champion USC, was primed to lead the Bruins in their first NCAA championship game since 2009.

Stanford scored one goal in the first quarter and UCLA led 5-3 at half after a beautiful cross cage upper-left shot from Kodi Hill. Stanford tied the game 5-5 in the third and then powered to a 9-5 victory in the fourth. Senior Annika Dries, the tournament MVP, scored a hat trick on the day including two from center-forward, highlighting Stanford’s superiority down low.

Stanford’s defense keyed the Cardinals fourth NCAA title especially against UCLA extra player advantages. The Bruins were 0-5 on power plays including 0-3 in the second half. Kiley Neushul had two key steals and helped keep the Bruins leading scorers off the board at the defensive end. Neushul’s stuff block and recovery of an Emily Donahoe shot from right hander during a fourth quarter power play defined the defense that won the game for the Cardinal. Sami Hill finished with 12 blocks in the game.

In the third place contest Cal’s Tiera Schroeder and Madeline Trabucco fell to the Trojans of USC 11-8. The Bears, who lose only one senior to graduation, had a stand-out season from freshman Madeline Trabucco in goal. Amanda Redfern and the Indiana Hoosiers upended Leah Gonzales and Laurel Kistler of UCSD in the seventh place game. This is Indiana’s third appearance at the NCAA Championships and they are 3-6 overall in tournament play. Seniors Redfern and Gonzales are both attending graduate school in environmental science. Ten Santa Barbara alumni participated in the 2014 NCAA tournament.

Ten alumni from Santa Barbara Water Polo Club competed at the NCAA Championships this last weekend.

Ten alumni from Santa Barbara Water Polo Club competed at the NCAA Championships this last weekend.

Hill is nominated for Water Polo’s Heisman

Sami Hill was nominated for the 2014 Cutino Award for the National Player of the Year along with Annika Dries and Maggie Steffens of Stanford. The Cutino Award is given annually by the Olympic Club of San Francisco in honor of the late Peter J. Cutino, the former University of California Berkeley men’s water polo coach, who passed away in September 2004. Cutino was named “Water Polo Coach of the Year” seventeen times and led UC Berkeley to eight NCAA National Championships. After retiring from Cal Cutino coached Olympic Club teams.

Kiley Neushul won the 2012 Cutino award after leading Stanford to the school’s third national championship during her freshman year. Hill and Neushul were teammates at Dos Pueblos High School where they won three consecutive CIF titles. They are now members of the Women’s Senior National Team and will compete in FINA World League and World Cup tournaments during the summer.

Women’s Water Polo keeps Stanford’s streak alive

Winning the Women’s Water Polo NCAA Championship kept Stanford’s nation’s leading 38-year streak of national championships alive. Stanford’s national championship total stands at 105 second only to UCLA with 110 and followed by USC with 99.

Speak Your Mind

*