June 1, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
Head coach John Tanner of the two-time defending national champion Stanford women's water polo team announced the squad's incoming Class of 2016 Thursday.
Arriving on The Farm for the 2012-13 season is a six-woman class featuring Skylar Dorosin (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto HS), Rachel Johnson (Davis, Calif./Davis HS), Melena Masson (Laguna Beach, Calif./Laguna Beach HS), Gurpreet Sohi (Delta, Canada/Seaquam Secondary School), Gabby Stone (La Jolla, Calif./The Bishop's School) and Hanna Yelizarova (La Salle, Canada/Vanier College).
Also joining the class will be Maggie Steffens, who deferred her first year (2011-12) at Stanford in order to train with the U.S. Olympic Team for this summer's London Games. Steffens will be one of five U.S. Olympic players with Stanford ties this summer.
"Our Class of 2016 has great passion for water polo and for Stanford," said Cardinal head coach John Tanner. "Each has wanted to move here from the day she committed, and we have felt the same way about them. This group has skill in every position and facet of the game, along with the drive to be champions. It will be great to have them join us in September."
Dorosin makes the short trip across the street from Palo Alto High School to the Stanford campus. A first-team All-CIF Central Coast Section selection following her junior and senior seasons, Dorosin helped lead the Vikings to the CCS playoffs, where the team defeated San Benito in the first round before falling to Leland in the quarterfinals.
The southpaw driver was also a member of the USA Water Polo Youth National Training Team in July 2011.
She is also the founder of Project 2020, a water polo and swimming program for young girls from Redwood City and East Palo Alto. Working with former Stanford All-American and three-time Olympian Brenda Villa, the organization is so named because of its goal to get at least one of its athletes into the 2020 Olympic Games.
"Skylar is dynamic, aggressive, and fast," Tanner noted. "She puts pressure on defenses, learns quickly, and loves challenges. Playing with the Stanford club team throughout high school has helped position her to make a smooth transition to elite level college water polo."
Johnson, a Northern California talent, helped her hometown Davis High School to three straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles in water polo. Johnson scored twice in Davis High's 8-5 championship game win over rival St. Francis last November, in the process being named Sac-Joaquin Division I Player of the Year.
This past spring, Johnson also became the first Davis High athlete to help lead the Blue Devils to CIF section titles in both water polo and swimming in the same season, as the school captured the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title in girls' swimming.
"Rachel is a fast tempo player, combining speed, decisiveness, vision, and quickness," Tanner commented. "And she has made a habit of winning playing for Doug Wright at Davis. We are eager to get her to Avery Aquatic Center, as she will fit well with our style of play."
Masson joins the Cardinal from Laguna Beach High School in Southern California. This past prep season, Masson scored 50 goals as LBHS captured another Orange Coast League crown and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs. There, the Breakers reached the semifinals for the second straight year, where the team's run came to an end with a 7-6 loss to Newport Harbor.
A member of the SET club team, Masson, a first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division I team member, was also a top player on the defensive end, being credited with 43 steals for Laguna Beach High.
"Melena has been the centerpiece of a lot of successful teams at Laguna Beach and SET, a player who does whatever it takes to lift her team," said Tanner."She can guard, postup, drive and counter attack, and she trains in a way that raises the bar for teammates."
Sohi joins the Cardinal from Delta, British Columbia, Canada. A driver, she was the leading scorer for the Canadian Youth National Team that won gold at the UANA Youth Pan Am Games in Puerto Rico this past August.
While with the Canadian Youth National Team, Sohi was named MVP at the International Olympic Hopes tournament in Hungary in 2010. She also plays club water polo for Fraser Valley Water Polo Club.
"Gurpreet is an inspiration to watch play water polo," Tanner said. "She is constantly in motion, always on the attack. We can't wait for her to arrive on campus, as her passion for the sport is matched by her enthusiasm for academics."
Stone, a goalie from La Jolla, was named CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year while leading The Bishop's School to its eighth CIF San Diego Section crown last February. She was named to the All-CIF San Diego Section First Team as a junior in 2011, as well as earning Western League MVP honors.
Stone has earned most valuable goalie honors at numerous prep tournaments during her career, including the Tyr Cup, and has been a member of the USA Water Polo Youth National Team.
"Gabby has a rare combination of explosive leg drive to get to outside shots and comfort and focus on inside shots," Tanner commented. "She thrives in 5-on-6 and blocking high-percentage shots. Gabby has been brilliant playing for Doug Peabody at Bishop's and San Diego Shores."
Stanford's six-woman class is rounded out by a second Canadian native, attacker Hanna Yelizarova. Hailing from La Salle, Quebec, Yelizarova brings extensive international experience to the Cardinal, having recently been part of Canada's silver medal-winning squad at the Pan Am Games in October. She also represented Canada at the Junior World Championships in Italy this past September.
In the Pan-Am Games Final against the United States, Yelizarova was picked as one of five Canadian shooters in the penalty shootout to determine the gold medal and a bid in the Olympics, despite being the youngest player on the team. She went four-for-four on her shots despite the Canadian team falling 27-26 in the end.
She is currently representing Canada at the FINA Women's World League Super Final in Changshu, China.
Yelizarova has helped lead Canada's Junior National Team to gold medals at the 2008 and 2010 Junior Pan Am Games.
"Anna brings athleticism, wide ranging skills, and mental toughness to the Farm," Tanner said. "She is a terrific goal scorer who has performed in high stakes situations at the international level."
Stanford, which captured its second straight NCAA title, and third overall, May 13 in San Diego, will begin the quest for a three-peat in January 2013.