Courtesy: Collegiate Water Polo Association
BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — Maddy Steere (Jr., Pascoe Vale, Australia/St. Catherine’s School) and Abby Andrews (Fr., Indooroopilly, Australia/Brisbane Girls Grammar School) of the University of Michigan claim Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year honors, while Princeton University head coach Derek Ellingson takes Coach of the Year accolades to headline the 2019 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division I All-Conference Team.
Selected based on nominations and votes by the head coaches of the league’s seven Division I institutions (Brown University, Bucknell University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Michigan, Princeton, Saint Francis University), the All-Conference Team honors the 14 best players (12 field players, two goalies) in the majority opinion of the coaches.
The 2019 MVP, Steere continues a string of success as the three-time All-Conference First Team selection (2017, 2018, 2019) as she becomes the eighth Wolverines’ student-athlete to claim league MVP accolades by joining Allison Skaggs (2017 – CWPA Division I), Ali Thomason (2016 – CWPA Division I), Kiki Golden (2012 – CWPA Western Division), Leah Robertson (2010 – CWPA Western Division), Julie Hyrne (2009 – CWPA Western Division; 2008 – CWPA Western Division), Shana Welch (2007 – CWPA Western Division; 2006 – CWPA Western Division; 2005 – CWPA Western Division) and Olympian Betsey Armstrong (2004 – CWPA Western Division; 2003 – CWPA Southern Division) dating back to the start of women’s NCAA competition in 2001. Overall, Michigan has claimed 12 league/division MVP accolades since the 2001 season.
Andrews, who garners Second Team All-Conference recognition, becomes the fourth Michigan player to earn Rookie of the Year status following Kim Johnson (2016 – CWPA Division I), Bryce Beckwith (2013 – CWPA Western Division) and Welch (2004 – CWPA).
On the deck, Ellingson garners Coach of the Year recognition following his inaugural season at the helm of the Tigers following a length of service as an assistant coach. The second Princeton head coach to earn the award in as many seasons – following interim head coach Becca Dorst in 2018 – the selection of Ellingson marks the seventh coaching accolade bestowed on the program as former head coach/current United States Naval Academy head coach Luis Nicolao earned women’s laurels in 2013 (CWPA Southern Division), 2006 (CWPA Southern Division), 2005 (CWPA Southern Division), 2004 (CWPA Southern Division) and 2001 (CWPA Southern Division) racked up five honors.
On the All-Conference Team, six of the seven CWPA Division I programs earned at least one selection led by regular season champion Michigan and runner-up Princeton, which both recorded four honorees.
Steere leads the First Team with teammate/2017 Second Team selection Heidi Ritner (Jr., Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar) earning notice at goaltender, while Princeton’s Amy Castellano (Jr., Yorba Linda, Calif./Yorba Linda) collects her first All-Conference nod.
2018 Second Team pick Alana Ponce (So., Gig Harbor, Wash./Gig Harbor) of George Washington University joins Steere, Ritner and two-time (2017, 201) Second Team selection Kristen Hong (Sr., Orinda, Calif./Miramonte) of Harvard University as the only members of the 2019 First Team to previously achieve All-Conference awards.
Ally Furano (So., Stamford, Conn./The Ursuline School (N.Y.)) of Bucknell University and McKenna Miller (Sr., Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) of Brown University complete the First Team as the duo join Castellano in tallying their inaugural All-Conference nods.
Princeton takes three of the seven positions on the Second Team as 2018 Second Team selections Lindsey Kelleher (Sr., South Pasadena, Calif./Polytechnic) and 2018 Rookie of the Year/goalie Marissa Webb (So., Danville, Calif./San Ramon) join first-timer Eliza Britt (Sr., Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar).
Andrews and 2018 First Team pick Julia Sellers (Sr., Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) of Michigan account for two spots, with Grace Thawley (Fr., Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) of Harvard and Kali Hyham (So., Garden Grove, Calif./Huntington Beach) of Bucknell completing the Second Team.
2019 CWPA Division I All-Conference Teams
Heidi Ritner (Goalie) – University of Michigan
Maddy Steere – University of Michigan
McKenna Miller – Brown University
Ally Furano – Bucknell University
Alana Ponce – George Washington University
Kristen Hong – Harvard University
Amy Castellano – Princeton University
Marissa Webb (Goalie) – Princeton University
Lindsey Kelleher – Princeton University
Eliza Britt – Princeton University
Abby Andrews – University of Michigan
Julia Sellers – University of Michigan
Kali Hyham – Bucknell University
Grace Thawley – Harvard University