LA JOLLA, Calif. -
UC San Diego head men's water polo coach Denny Harper
earned Western Water Polo Association Coach of the Year for the 16th time and five Tritons were selected to the All-WWPA Team, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.
John Butler and David Morton were named to the All-WWPA First Team while Brian Donohoe and Graham Saber were Second Team honorees. Matthew Michalko was a WWPA All-Freshman Team selection.
For Harper, who holds a career record of 552-405-4 over his 32 seasons at UCSD, the award marks his first WWPA Coach of the Year distinction since 2006. This year's squad won the most contests in the WWPA (12) and went 7-3 against non-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation top 20 teams this season. UCSD's only losses in conference play this season came at the hands of four-time defending WWPA champion Loyola Marymount.
Morton has been as dependable as they come in goal for the Tritons. He broke the school's all-time career saves record in the Tritons' third game and registered 12 double-digit saves performances during the regular season. A three-time All-WWPA selection, this marks the first season in which Morton has been named to the first team.
A two-time All-WWPA selection, Butler also made his first appearance on the conference's first team. He leads the Tritons with 38 steals and is tied with Saber for the team-lead in steals with 24. Butler recorded a hat trick and two steals in the Tritons' final game of the regular season and has scored in eight consecutive games since October 9.
Saber, a first-time All-WWPA honoree, has carried the offensive load for UCSD in his senior campaign. His 13 hat tricks are a team-best and he has recorded a seven-goal game, a six-goal game and two five-goal games this season. He won WWPA Player of the Week on September 14th after a 12-goal performance over two matches against Pomona Pitzer and Claremont.
Donohoe has been solid for the Tritons this season with 26 goals, 33 assists and 22 steals. A two-time All-WWPA honoree, he has tallied nine multiple-goal games in 2011. He scored a season-high four goals in UCSD's win over Air Force on September 3.
Michalko has been a physical force for UCSD since his first game in the pool for the Tritons. He kicked off the season with a hat trick in UCSD's first game of the season against Redlands, the first of four hat tricks in 2011. He leads the team with 38 ejections drawn while adding 24 goals and 10 assists. Michalko scored twice in UCSD's final contest of the regular season against UC Irvine.
UCSD will host the WWPA Championships this week at Canyonview Aquatic Center. Action gets underway Thursday, November 17 and runs through Sunday, November 20. The Tritons received the No. 2 seed for the tournament and await the winner of Whittier and Claremont in the second round. That match will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.