Courtesy: UC San Diego Athletics
LA JOLLA, Calif. – Ciara Franke of the No. 9 UC San Diego women’s water polo team was named the Big West Player of the Year, as announced by the conference May 6. The Tritons were well represented in All-Conference Honors with five players recognized by the Big West. Franke becomes the first athlete from any sport at UC San Diego to be named Big West Player of the Year.
𝘽𝙞𝙜 𝙒𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙮𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙔𝙚𝙖𝙧
— UC San Diego WWP (@UCSDwwp) May 6, 2021
Franke proved to be one of the top plays on both ends of the pool. She ranked first in the conference in goals (34) and second in steals (22). Franke also led the team in drawn exclusions with 31, giving the Tritons multiple power play opportunities throughout the season. In addition to being named the Player of the Year, Franke was named to the All-Big West First Team.
Bennett Bugelli joined Franke on the All-Big West First Team. Bugelli’s play in the net led the defense and provided a confidence boost to the offense. She started off the season with a career performance in a sudden death overtime win with a career high 17 saves. Bugelli led the conference in saves (190) and save percentage (.574).
Grace Pevehouse and Annika Arroyo were named to the All-Conference Second Team. Pevehouse finished third on the team in goals (23) and points (31) and also added 12 steals on the season. Arroyo had a big start to her career as a Triton and finished second on the team in goals (32) and tied for second in steals (17). Arroyo also earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.
Tera Richardson earned Honorable Mention, making it the first time Richardson has earned conference honors in her career. Richardson had 15 goals, 13 assists and was tied for second on the team with 17 steals.
UC San Diego women’s water polo finished their first full season as members of the Big West after their inaugural 2020 season was cut short. The Tritons went 9-8 on the season and 3-2 in conference action.