LA JOLLA, Calif. - David Morton earned Player of the Year and Denny Harper was honored as Coach of the Year, as four UC San Diego men's water polo players were announced to the 2011 Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-America Division II team, it was announced by the ACWPC on Monday afternoon.
Joining Morton are Graham Saber, John Butler and Brian Donohoe. It marks the third consecutive season in which Morton has been selected as an ACWPC All-American and Donohoe is a back-to-back honoree. Harper has been named ACWPC Division II Coach of the Year five times since 2000.
Coach Harper, in his 32nd season at the helm, led the Tritons to their 15th WWPA title by defeating No. 12 UC Davis in the WWPA Championship game in La Jolla on November 20. UCSD made its 11th appearance at the NCAA Championship and Harper was honored as WWPA Coach of the Year for the 16th time. The Tritons ended the year at 17-11 overall and accounted for the most wins in a season since 2006.
Morton posted a solid senior campaign in goal for the Tritons, breaking UCSD's all-time saves record with his ninth save in a 15-6 win over Cal Lutheran on September 4. He finished his four-year career with 1,106 total stops - the only goalie in school history to break 1,000 saves - and a .552 save percentage. The Salinas, Calif. native blocked 286 shots this season, third-most in a single season in UCSD annals while being named WWPA Tournament Most Valuable Player, All-WWPA Tournament First Team and All-WWPA First Team. His biggest performance was in the WWPA championship game, when he stopped two penalty shots and forced UC Davis to go 0-for-3 from five meters in the Tritons' 8-7 win over the Aggies.
Saber, a senior from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., led the Tritons with 83 goals and 30 steals in 2011. His goal total was sixth most and his 207 shot attempts were second most, respectively, in single season school history. He recorded 22 consecutive multiple goal games between September 10 and November 20 and he had a team high 16 hat tricks on the year, including a seven goal game, a six goal game and two five goal games. Saber earned All-WWPA Second Team, All-WWPA Tournament First Team and All-NCAA Tournament First Team.
Butler, a junior from Hillsborough, Calif., was named First Team All-WWPA and First Team All-WWPA Tournament. He led the Tritons with 43 assists on the season and finished third on the team in goals (33) and steals (26). Butler contributed four goals, five assists and two steals at the WWPA Tournament and scored at least a goal in nine consecutive matches between October 12 and November 18.
Donohoe, a junior from Upland, Calif., finished second on the team with 35 assists and 28 steals while adding 30 goals. He was named All-WWPA Second Team, All-WWPA Tournament Second Team and All-NCAA Tournament Second Team, and also earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award at the NCAA Championship Banquet, given to the participating player with the highest GPA.
The Tritons have much to build on in 2012 as the team will graduate only four seniors in the Spring- Saber, Morton, William Brown and Matt Kerchner. Butler and Donohoe return, along with key contributors Josh Stiling, Luke Syka, Matthew Michalko and David Higginson.