June 25, 2012
ACWPC All-America Teams and Awards
STANFORD, Calif. - For the second straight year, national champion Stanford Women's Water Polo captured the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) National Player and Coach of the Year awards, as freshman driver Kiley Neushul and head coach John Tanner were honored.
Additionally, eight Stanford players earned All-America honors on the ACWPC's teams. Neushul and driver Kaley Dodson were named to the first team, driver Alyssa Lo to the second team, goalie Kate Baldoni to the third team while two-meters Monica Coughlan and Ashley Grossman, along with drivers Cassie Churnside and Pallavi Menon earned honorable mention.
Stanford went 26-2 and a perfect 7-0 in MPSF play in 2012 en route to capturing its second straight NCAA title and third overall with a 6-4 title-game win over USC on May 13.
It is Tanner's second straight ACWPC Coach of the Year honor. Tanner has guided the Cardinal to all three of its national titles, and this season his charges again went through an undefeated conference season.
On the year, the Cardinal outscored its opponents 342-130, while five players scored at least 30 goals and seven reached the 20-goal mark.
The ACWPC National Player of the Year award caps one of the most successful debut seasons in Cardinal history for Neushul. The Goleta, Calif. native also claimed the Peter J. Cutino Award in early June, and was named MPSF Newcomer of the Year in addition to being named to the All-America First Team.
Neushul led the Cardinal with 58 goals in 2012, including three at the National Collegiate Championship in which Stanford captured its national title. The freshman driver recorded 11 hat tricks and 17 multi-goal games this season.
The announcement is the second All-America recognition for Dodson, and her first first-team selection. An honorable mention last year, Dodson scored 34 goals this season, fourth-most on the team, and was named to the All-MPSF First Team and the MPSF All-Tournament Team. Dodson earned her first MPSF Player of the Week honor on April 23 after scoring twice in Stanford's 8-1 win at then-No. 1 UCLA two days prior.
Lo was named to the second team for the second straight season after ranking third on the team with 36 goals in 2012. Named to the All-MPSF Second Team this season, Lo added four goals at the National Collegiate Championship in May to finish her collegiate career with two straight NCAA titles.
In her first season as Stanford's No. 1 goalie, Baldoni proved to be a big-game performer as she capped a great season with a performance to remember at the National Collegiate Championship. Over the tournament's three games, Baldoni made 29 saves and conceded just nine goals, capped by a 15-save effort in the title game against USC that solidified her selection as Tournament MVP. Her performance also earned her recognition in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" on June 11.
On the year, Baldoni paced the MPSF with a 4.50 goals-against average and made 10.52 saves per game as Stanford boasted the conference's top defense with just 4.64 goals allowed per game.
Coughlan earned her well-deserved first All-America recognition Monday. In the absence of two-meter players and 2011 Peter J. Cutino Award finalists Annika Dries and Melissa Seidemann this season due to Olympic training, Coughlan stepped up in the role in 2012. Her play on both ends of the pool helped Stanford boast the MPSF's top defense, and her setting on offense helped fuel Stanford's conference-best offense which scored 12.21 goals a game. Coughlan would also score 11 goals during the campaign.
Another of Stanford's seniors, Menon battled through an elbow injury that limited her through the middle of the campaign but still managed to score 31 goals. Menon returned full-time for the latter half of the season, making her presence felt on the offensive end, as she recorded her third straight 30-goal campaign. It would be Menon's final goal that would be most memorable, as she rifled home Stanford's game-clinching sixth goal with just over a minute left in the NCAA title game against USC on May 13.
The All-America honor is also the first of Menon's career.
Churnside rounded out all four of Stanford's seniors being recognized by the ACWPC, earning her first career All-America nod.
In her final year on The Farm, Churnside scored a career-high 27 goals and was one of seven players to reach the 20-goal mark in 2012.
Grossman completed a big freshman year of her own, scoring 50 goals to rank second on the team. She was named All-MPSF honorable mention as well as to the MPSF All-Newcomer Team.