LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego women's water polo team has signed seven new players to National Letters of Intent, head coach Brad Kreutzkamp announced on Monday.
Five incoming freshman and a pair of junior college transfers will join a 2011 Triton squad that reached the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history and won its first Western Water Polo Association title since 2000. UCSD featured 10 new players in its 2009-10 incoming class, including regular contributors Natalie Peng, Katherine Biehle, Sarah Lizotte and Melissa Bartow.
"We were looking to add to last year's big recruiting class by adding a couple of scorers," said Kreutzkamp. "This year, we've found a class with a lot of offensive firepower."
UCSD's 2011-12 class features true freshmen Rachel Brooks, Emily McPhee, Andie Nishimi, Haley Kunert and Jolene Guiliana. Brittany Daniels and Lindsay Holbrook of Orange Coast College will join the Tritons has junior college transfers.
Brooks comes to UCSD from Davis Senior High School, where she earned First Team All-CIF Sacramento-San Joaquin Section and First Team All-Delta Valley League during each of her four years. A starter all four years at Davis High, she led the Blue Devils to CIF-SJS Section Championships in 2007, 2009 and 2010. She participated in the Central California Olympic Development Program between 2007-09 and was also a member of the varsity track and field team in the discus and shot.
"I expect Rachel to step in immediately and be an offensive force," said Kreutzkamp. "With our inside game pretty strong we really needed some outside threats, and I am very confident that Rachel will be able to fill that role for us."
McPhee hails from Moraga, Calif.'s Campolindo High School. During her senior campaign, McPhee was named First Team All-NCS Division II and Second Team All-East Bay. The MVP of Campolindo High's team, she was selected to participate in the high school all-star game for the Pacific Zone. In 2009, McPhee was a Second Team All-Diablo Valley Athletic League and All East Bay-North Bay Second Team honoree.
"In our effort to recruit scorers, Emily was a big target for us," said Kreutzkamp. "She has exceptional ball control and has the ability to attack and score consistently. I expect Emily have a fantastic freshman year here at UCSD."
Nishimi also hails for Campolindo High School, where she co-captained the Cougars, along with McPhee. A Third Team All-NCA selection and two-time Honorable Mention All-DFAL honoree, she also participated in the Pacific Zone all-star game.
"Andie will bring a much needed energy to our counter attack and enthusiasm to our squad," said Kreutzkamp. "I think her quickness will translate perfectly to our style of play and we have high expectations that she will contribute to our team success for a long time to come."
Kunert will come to La Jolla from Costa Mesa, Calif., where she attended Edison High School. She earned All-CIF Southern Section Fifth Team honors as a senior. As a junior, she was named a USA Water Polo Academic All-American and earned Second Team All-Sunset League honors. She also earned the team's Defensive Player of the Year Award and Coaches' Award during her time at Edison.
"We are very excited to get a player like Haley who has played her career in the heart of Orange County for so long," said Kreutzkamp. "As a two-meter guard she has gone up against some of the best centers in the country. And being recognized as an all CIF player for her accomplishments just reinforces what we hope she can do for us as a prime time defender."
Orange County's leading scorer and an All-CIF Southern Section Fifth Team selection, Guiliana will head to UCSD for her freshman year out of Irvine's Beckman High School. A two-time First Team All-Pacific Coast Leage honoree, she was named an ESPNLosangles.com Athlete of the Week and Orange County Varsity Player of the Week on January 17.
"Jolene has a talent and niche of scoring goals," said Kreutzkamp. "We are enthused to have an incoming player with a nose for the cage. We are confident that she will be able to make the transition to the collegiate level of water polo here at UCSD."
Daniels was a two-time All-SoCal Team (All-American) selection and a two-time All-Orange Empire Conference Team honoree at Orange Coast College. She also earned Team Defensive MVP during her two seasons at OCC and was a member of the 2010 CCCAA Women's Swimming State Championship squad. A stalwart in the classroom, Daniels took home the 2010 California Community College Commission on Athletics Team Scholar Award.
"Brittney already comes to us with a ton of playing experience and I expect her to help us tremendously on the defensive side of the ball," said Kreutzkamp. "Not only is she a great defender but she is very comfortable in front of the cage as well. We are lucky to have her."
Holbrook also earned First Team All-American honors and All-Orange Empire Conference First Team honors while at OCC in 2010. She was named the Pirates' Most Valuable Player in 2010.
"As one of our transfers this year, we are ecstatic that Lindsay will be joining the squad next year UCSD," said Kreutzkamp. "She also has a great set of physical tools that will bring out team to a new level of competiveness. As Orange Coast College's MVP she already has the experience of being relied upon which will transition perfectly for her role here."