Collegiate Water Polo Association Releases 2013 Southern Division All-Conference Team; Princeton University Sweeps Individual Honors
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Katie Rigler (Jr., Fullerton, Calif./Rosary), head coach Luis Nicolao and goalie Ashleigh Johnson (Fr., Miami, Fla./Ransom Everglades) lead a Southern Division sweep of the Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards by Princeton University as the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) releases the 2013 Southern Division All-Conference Team.
Selected based on nominations and balloting from the Southern Division head coaches at Brown University, Bucknell University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Mercyhurst University and Princeton University, the 2013 All-Conference Team features 12 field players and two goalies in addition to selections for a Most Valuable Player, a Rookie of the Year and a Coach of the Year.
Leading the team is 2013 Southern Division champion Princeton as the Tigers claim the division's three individual awards, three First Team All-Conference nods and one Second Team selection to account for nearly a third of the honored players among the six league institutions.
A two-time Southern Division Player of the Year with previous honors in 2012, Rigler claims her third First Team All-Conference nod after previously garnering honors in 2011 and 2012. Her back-to-back MVP awards place her among elite company in Tigers' history as she joins Phoebe Champion (2009, 2010), Elyse Colgan (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Cassie Nichols (2002) and 2013 CWPA Hall of Fame inductee Adele McCarthy-Beauvais (2001) as Princeton players to rank as the Southern Division's best since women's water polo became a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognized varsity sport in 2001.
Joining her on the First Team are teammates Taylor Dunstan (So., New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) and Johnson as the duo both claim their inaugural All-Conference nods. In the history of the league, Johnson stands alone at she becomes the first goalie in the recent history of the CWPA to claim unanimous honors as the top netminder in the Southern Division.
Further, her selection of the Rookie of the Year, combined with Nicolao's fifth notice as the Coach of the Year (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013), complete a sweep of the individual honors in the Southern Division for the Tigers to equal the best performance by one school in league history. In 2010, Hartwick College accomplished the feat in the now eliminated Northern Division with Kirsten Hudson, Alan Huckins and Lily Martinez (Sr., Commerce, Calif./Commerce) picking up awards, respectively.
Overall, Johnson is the third Princeton women's student-athlete to claim the Rookie of the Year award as Megan Donahue (2003) and Lauren Brunner (2008) were both previously recognized by the league's coaches. In the history of the Southern Division, she is the second Tigers' player to pick up the honor as the Rookie of the Year award, created in 2003 to honor the best player in the entire Collegiate Water Polo Association, was split into divisional plaques in 2008.
On the Second Team, Camille Hooks (So., Beverly Hills, Calif./Harvard-Westlake School) rounds out Princeton's four All-Conference honorees as the Tigers top Harvard (three), Brown (two), Bucknell (two), George Washington (two) and Mercyhurst (one) for the most recipients in 2013.
Harvard, which finished third at the Southern Division Championship, notches one First Team selection and a pair of Second Team honorees as Aisha Price (Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School), Yoshi Andersen (Fr., Laguna Beach, Calif./Laguna Beach) and goalie Ariel Dukes (So., Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) were recognized by coaches.
Kate Woods (Jr., La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla) and Madison Pepper (So., Baytown, Texas/Sterling) of Brown University join Price, Rigler and Johnson on the First Team to account for the Bears' pair of selections. The award marks the third First Team accolade for Woods as the 2011 Southern Division Rookie of the Year previously was recognized with elite status in 2011 and 2012.
The final spot on the First Team belongs to Rachael Bentley (Jr., Riverside, Calif./Riverside Poly) of George Washington as the Colonials pick up two All-Conference selections with a Second Team laurel to classmate Megan Brolley (Jr., Delray Beach, Fla./Saint Andrew's School).
Bucknell's Julianne Valdes (Jr., Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and Mackenzie Ferry (Jr., Enola, Pa./Cumberland Valley), along with Mercyhurst's Lisett Calderon (Sr., Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) complete the six Second Team All-Conference field players. The award marks the second in the careers of both 2010 Southern Division Rookie of the Year Calderon and Valdes as the pair previously received 2012 Second Team accolades.
|Southern Division Team|
|Player of the Year:||Katie Rigler (Princeton University)|
|Coach of the Year:||Luis Nicolao (Princeton University)|
|Rookie of the Year:||Ashleigh Johnson (Princeton University)|
|Ashleigh Johnson (Goalie)||Princeton University|
|Katie Rigler $#!
|Taylor Dunstan||Princeton University|
|Kate Woods $*!
||George Washington University|
|Ariel Dukes (Goalie)||Harvard University|
|Julianne Valdes @
||George Washington University|
|Lisett Calderon @%
|$2012 Southern Division First Team; @2012 Western Division Second Team; #2012 Southern Division Player of the Year; *2011 Southern Division Rookie of the Year; !2011 Southern Division First Team;%2010 Western Division Rookie of the Year|