Nov. 14, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
John Tanner, head coach of the two-time defending NCAA champion Stanford women's water polo team, has announced the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent.
Joining the Cardinal for the 2013-14 academic year and the 2014 women's water polo season will be Julia Hermann (Solana Beach, Calif./Torrey Pines HS), Danijela Jackovich (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central HS), Sophia Monaghan (Princeton, N.J./The Lawrenceville School), Jamie Neushul (Goleta, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS), Cassidy Papa (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar HS) and Jessica Webster (La Jolla, Calif./The Bishop's School).
The six players join a Cardinal squad that has captured the past two NCAA titles and returns three members of the gold medal-winning 2012 U.S. Olympic Team in Annika Dries, Melissa Seidemann and Maggie Steffens, in addition to 2012 Peter J. Cutino Player of the Year Kiley Neushul. Stanford opens defense of its 2012 crown in January 2013.
"This group has an extremely bright future," said Tanner. "They've had college-level coaching for much or all of their careers, and they have the work ethic to embrace the intensity of play here. It's really exciting that they've all been focused on Stanford for some time and can't wait to get started."
Hermann, a 5-8 goalie, is one of four Southern Californians in the class and was named to the All-CIF San Diego Section Division I First Team last season after leading Torrey Pines High School to its second straight Palomar League title. She also garnered the Palomar League Player of the Year award as well as being named to the all-county first team.
Playing for San Diego Shores at the club level, Hermann was named Junior Olympics MVP in the 16U division this past summer, while in 2011 she was named to the Junior Olympic 16U All-America Second Team.
"Julia is an exciting athlete who inspires teammates with her dynamic play," Tanner noted. "She is mobile and explosive and capable of making big saves. She brings an attacking mentality to her goalkeeping."
Jackovich, a 6-0 center, comes to The Farm as the Cardinal's first recruit from the Midwest since Ann Arbor, Mich. native and 2008 Olympian Alison Gregorka. Jackovich brings a strong international resume to the program, having captained the U.S. Youth National Team in 2011. Next month she will represent the US at the FINA Youth World Championships in Perth, Australia.
At Lincoln-Way Central, Jackovich led the Knights to the Illinois state championship for the first time in school history. As a junior last year, she scored 150 goals and assisted on 78 others, being named Southtown Star Girls Water Polo Player of the Year.
"Danijela is strong, aggressive, and determined and creates headaches for opposing teams," Tanner said. "She was really impressive against the top club teams this summer. She is ready to make the mental and physical transition to elite level college water polo."
Another member of multiple U.S. national teams, Monaghan helped lead the U.S. Junior National Team to the gold medal at the U-19 Pan-American Games. The 5-9 center-defender was also previously a member of the youth national team.
As a prep, Monaghan helped lead The Lawrenceville School to its first title at the Beast of the East, the biggest high school girls' water polo tournament outside of California, in 2012. A varsity starter all four years of her prep career, she was named MVP of the Eastern Championships as a junior while being named to the Eastern Championships All-Tournament Team as a freshman and sophomore.
"Sophia is an exciting prospect because she can play multiple positions and because she plays her best against higher-level, bigger competition," said Tanner. "She had a breakout tournament at Junior Pan Ams this summer."
Adding a sibling combo to the Cardinal team for 2014, Jamie Neushul , a 5-7 driver, combined with sister Kiley to help lead Dos Pueblos High to consecutive CIF Southern Section Division I titles in her freshman and sophomore years. During the first title run in 2010, Jamie scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in Dos Pueblos' comeback title-game victory over Newport Harbor. In 2011 and 2012, she was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Division I First Team for her accomplishments, and has also earned letters in swimming and cross country at DPHS.
Neushul is also very accomplished on the club level with Santa Barbara Water Polo Club, having captured Junior Olympic titles at the 12U 14U, 16U and 18U levels in addition to being named a Junior Olympic All-American at each level. She was named Co-MVP of the 14U tournament in 2009 and earned MVP honors at the 16U level in 2011. She has also helped the club to National Club Championship titles at the 12U, 14U and 18U levels.
"Jamie is a poised, tough, skillful athlete who had a terrific summer, leading her team to both major club championships, a huge accomplishment," Tanner commented. "She thrives on challenges and is effective in all phases of the game."\
Papa, a 5-7 driver from Newport Beach, Calif., plays her prep water polo at Corona del Mar High School. Last year she scored 81 goals, leading the Sea Queens to the CIF Southern Section Division I championship game. She is a two-time Daily Pilot Newport Mesa Dream Team selection, and after the New Year will return to action for her senior season with the preseason top-ranked Sea Queens.
Papa is with the U.S. Youth National Team in Perth, Australia, preparing for the FINA Youth World Championship which begins Dec. 1. She had previously spent time with the youth national team in Hungary over the past two summers.
"Cassidy is fast, clever and alert, making her a great fit with how we play the sport," said Tanner. "Her dedication to developing her craft is uncommon, which gives her huge credibility with coaches and teammates."
Also joining Stanford from the San Diego area is Webster, a 5-10 driver. At The Bishop's School, Webster was twice named to the All-CIF San Diego Section First Team, garnering the honors as a sophomore in 2011 and a junior in 2012. She has also spent three years on the school's swim team, being named team MVP in 2012 and setting the school record in the 50-yard freestyle.
Playing club ball for San Diego Shores, Webster was named MVP at the 2011 U.S. Club Championships, pulling double duty as she led the club's 16U team to the national title and helped the 18U team to a third-place finish. A two-time Junior Olympic All-American (2010-11), Webster has also been named MVP at the San Diego Open in 2012 and the TYR Cup in 2011.
"Jessica has the size, speed and shooting ability to scale quickly to this level of play," said Tanner. "She also had a terrific summer, overseas and in California, showing her willingness to take over games from the outside and the interior."