LA JOLLA, Calif. -
UC San Diego women's water polo head coach Brad Kreutzkamp
was awarded Coach of the Year and Hanalei Crowell
was honored as Co-Player of the Year for Division II by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches, it was announced Tuesday afternoon. In addition, Crowell earned All-American status along with teammates Kirsten Bates
and Sarah Lizotte
The Tritons wrapped up their most successful season in program history in May with its first Western Water Polo Association title since 2000 and their first trip to the NCAA Championships. Moreover, UCSD took home seventh place at the Championships with a handy 15-9 win over No. 20 Iona.
"To have three of our players honored by coaches across the country just goes to show the impression that we made this season," said Kreutzkamp. "When your team meets the goals it sets out to accomplish at the beginning of the season, the individual awards will follow."
For Crowell, the award adds to her individual accolades this season. The senior from Kailua, Hawaii has already been named WWPA Tournament Most Valuable Player, WWPA First Team and to the WWPA All-Academic squad. She led the Tritons with 56 assists and 78 steals in 2011, the second-most assists and third-most steals, respectively, in UCSD single season history. She scored 58 goals this season in addition to recording seven hat tricks. Crowell finished her career with the second-most assists (120) and fifth-most steals (163) in program history.
"Hanalei gets to put one more feather in her cap with this one," said Kreutzkamp. "I couldn't be more happy with the role she played for us this year and what she has put into the program."
Crowell shares the 2011 Player of the Year award with Nikki Smart of Cal State Monterey Bay. The individual accolade marks the ninth time in ten seasons in which a Triton has taken home the Division II Player of the Year award. Crowell follows Stephanie Heinrich (2010), Sydney Gstettenbauer (2009), Kim Hockett (2008), Sarah Bajorek (2007), Kaitlin Foe (2006), Tobi Lyman (2005), Dana Tucker (2003) and Emma Kudritzki (2002).
Bates, a junior who was also named All-American in 2010, led the Tritons with 61 goals while tallying 60 steals and 34 assists. She scored seven goals at the NCAA Championships and scored four goals in four different contests throughout the season. Her .415 shooting percentage was a team-best and she currently sits tied for eighth-place in UCSD history with 152 career scores. This season, Bates has taken home NCAA All-Tournament Second Team, WWPA Second Team, WWPA All-Academic Team and WWPA All-Tournament First Team honors.
"Bates has been our leading scorer for two years running," said Kreutzkamp. "Now, no one's taking her for granted around the country and I'm excited to see what she'll do next season."
Lizotte earned All-American honors with 46 goals and 21 assists, despite playing just nearly half of the season. She debuted with a goal and four assists in the first match of her career on March 25 against San Diego State, and then went on to lead the Tritons in scoring for 10 of the next 11 contests. She scored nine times during the WWPA Championships and earned All-Tournament First Team honors. Lizotte capped the season with a team season-high five goals against Iona in the seventh place match at the NCAA Championships on May 15, all in the first half.
"Sarah came in and immediately made an impact on our team over the last couple months of the season," said Kreutzkamp. "She averaged about three goals per game which gave us the boost we needed to get over the top."
Manning the Tritons' ship this season was Kreutzkamp, who came into the year with just a single campaign under his belt as head of the women's water polo program. After going 18-20 during his first season as coach, the Tritons matched that record in 2011 and traversed to points of the postseason the program has never seen.
UCSD went 9-1 in WWPA competition during the regular season, succumbing only to perennial WWPA powerhouse Loyola Marymount. However, the Tritons would avenge that loss with a 13-11 upset of the Lions in the WWPA Championship match, punching their tickets to the NCAA Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. UCSD's win over Iona marked the first win at the NCAA Championships for women's water polo in UCSD history.
"I can only describe the honor as humbling," said Kreutzkamp. "For only being involved with the women's team for two years and to have my colleagues recognize what our team accomplished this year is something that is really special. The awards are by-products of our team reaching its goals."