Santa Barbara Girls Water Polo Strikes Gold at Mark Rauchwarger Memorial Cup

Posted ago by Peter Neushul

Santa Barbara Water Club’s 14U Girls A team won Gold at the 2015 edition of the Mark Rauchwarger Memorial Cup held in Santa Barbara over the weekend. Led by Cathy Neushul, Connor Levoff, and Pam Tanase, the 14’s powered through some of the more distinguished club teams in California, including Bruin, Back Bay, Stanford, and Corona del Mar before meeting Northwood of Irvine in the championship.

Tied through three quarters Santa Barbara broke the championship game open in the fourth behind goals from Abbi Hill and Jewel Roemer to build a three goal lead and seal a hard fought 12-9 victory. Santa Barbara adjusted defensively in the final quarter, limiting fouls and preventing Northwood’s shots from outside five meters. Santa Barbara’s gold medalists included Ella Prentice, Abbi Hill, Abigail Hendrix, Sabina Shackelford, Kayla Peacock, Cassidy Miller, Sara Engmyr, Jewel Roemer, and Fiona Kuesis. Anna Cable anchored the team in goal.

While Santa Barbara Water Polo’s teams battled at the three high school pools, sixteen club alumni, some of them older sisters, returned home to compete in UCSB’s annual Winter Cup. UCLA featured Sami Hill in goal along with sister Kodi Hill and Kelsey O’Brien in the field. Hill made history over the weekend when she broke Nicolle Payne’s 1995-98 UCLA record for number of blocks and is now the most successful goalie in Bruin history with 747 career saves.

Santa Barbara Alumni competing in the Winter Cup included Tiera Schroeder and Madeline Trabuco of Cal; Jade Wentz Fitzgerald, Betsy Hendrix, Amanda Schrader, Sophie Trabuco, and Tess Wardle of UCSB; Jade Arner and Makenzy Fowler of Cal State Northridge; Brittny Hummel of Sonoma State; Laurel Kistler of UCSD; Rose Koper of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and Ari St. Oegger of Loyola Marymount.

Santa Barbara’s golden weekend is an indication that the tradition of excellence continues at a club that regularly places players with NCAA Division I collegiate programs.

SBCC Last Home Game

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SBCC vs LA Pierce

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Annual Club Letter 2014

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Gold and Silver for Santa Barbara Water Polo at 2014 National Junior Olympics

Posted ago by Peter Neushul

Santa Barbara Water Polo Club Girls teams were poised to win three National Junior Olympic Championships on Sunday at the 2014 National Junior Olympic Championship held at Stanford University. After four days competing against the nation’s best teams, Santa Barbara’s 12U, 14U, and 16U teams all advanced to the championship game at the World’s largest youth water polo tournament. Local fans in yellow shirts turned Stanford’s state of the art water polo arena into a Santa Barbara party that produced some of the tournament’s most exciting water polo.

Led by Chuckie Roth and Kelsie Hendrix, Santa Barbara’s 12U girls broke open a tight match with Trojan Water Polo Club to take their second consecutive National Junior Olympic Title. The 12’s withstood an early onslaught of outside shots from Trojan while breaking down their opponent’s defense by drawing ejections and scoring on extra player set play. Santa Barbara cruised to victory in the fourth quarter winning 9-6. The most dramatic 12U match of the tournament came in the semi-finals when Santa Barbara eliminated top ranked United Water Polo Club in a low scoring game that ended when Angela Drake scored a dramatic tie breaking goal late in the fourth quarter to capture a 4-3 victory over the favorites. The 2014 12U National Junior Olympic Champions included Ana Amaral, Riley Christen, Shannon Connelly, Angela Drake, Emma Engmyr, Abigail Hendrix, Claire Kronen, Hannah Meyer, Cassidy Miller, Megan Musick, Ella Prentice, Sabina Shackelford, Ava Stryker, and Charlize Winter. Anna Cable had an outstanding tournament in goal. Abigail Hendrix was named Tournament MVP.

Led by Cathy Neushul and Connor Levoff, the 14U Girls avenged last year’s championship loss to 680 Water Polo Club with a resounding 13-7 victory in the quarterfinals followed by a 10-6 semi-final win over perennial power Socal. Santa Barbara met Laguna Beach in the final which went to a shootout after a dramatic fourth quarter finish that saw the 14’s storm back from a three goal deficit to tie the game 8-8 with less than 10 seconds on the clock. Santa Barbara fell in the sudden death phase of the shootout 8.3 to 8.4. The 2014 National Junior Olympic Silver Medalists included Lili Rose Akin, Paige Hauschild, Abbi Hill, Olivia Kistler, Ryann Neushul, Chloe Pena, Grace Raisin, Georgia Ransone, Jamie Stryker, Alexandra Szymczak, and Jocelyn Thorp. Sophie Trumbull was in goal.

Santa Barbara’s third and final hour in the Championship pool saw the 16 girls battle defending champion SET Water Polo Club which included four members of Laguna Beach High School’s 2014 CIF Division I Championship team. In one of the tournament’s most physical games the sixteen’s played SET even for most of the game and then fell behind by three early in the final quarter. Santa Barbara battled back late in the game but were unable to hold off SET’s dominant center forwards and fell 10-8. The 2014 National Junior Olympic Silver Medalists included Victoria Bray, Jessie Brummett, Mackenzie Fell, Kristina Garcia, Hailey Gellert, Paige Hauschild, Abbi Hill, Kate Coski, Lara Kostruba, Ryann Neushul, Brittany Prentice, Jesse Ransone, Juliana Shackelford, and Whitney Steidl. Piper Smith was outstanding in goal.

Santa Barbara’s B teams also excelled at the 2014 National Junior Olympics. In the Championship Bracket Pam Tanase’s 14B girls won Silver while Dennis Van Alphen led the 18B Girls to a Bronze medal finish. Santa Barbara’s two time defending champion 18 girls fell in the quarter finals. Several members of the squad are moving on to compete at some of the nation’s finest collegiate programs. These include Britten Vilander DPHS/Iona College; Halie Johnson SMHS/Cal Baptist; Anna Brummett SBHS/Indiana; Ari St. Oegger DPHS/Loyola Marymount; Shannon Cleary DPHS/Stanford; Mary Brooks UC Irvine; Betsy Hendrix SBHS/UCSB; and Jessica Gaffney SBHS/Claremont McKenna. They will join a distinguished group of Santa Barbara Water Polo alumni competing in NCAA Division I programs. Ten Santa Barbara Water Polo Club alumni participated in the 2014 NCAA Division I National Championship tournament.

Santa Barbara Water Polo Girls are National Champions

Posted ago by Peter Neushul

Santa Barbara Polo Club brought home two gold medals from the 2014 National Club Championships held in Southern California over the weekend in one of the club’s strongest ever showings at the elite tournament.

The 14U girls led by Cathy Neushul and Connor Levoff advanced second in bracket play to meet first seeded and undefeated Socal. Socal upended Santa Barbara at the 2013 TYR Cup and at the 2014 San Diego Cup. SB’s 14’s dominated the nation’s number one team from the outset utilizing withering press and storming extra man defensive sets to throttle Socal’s shooters. Leading 8-3 in the third, Santa Barbara cruised to an 8-6 victory in the 4th. After relegating Socal to the 5th through 8th bracket, Santa Barbara defeated Rosebowl 9-5 in the semifinal match before crushing perennial power Laguna Beach 14-5 to win the club’s second consecutive 14U National Club Championship. The 2014 National Club Champions include Liliana Rose Akin, Abbi Hill, Olivia Kistler, Ryann Neushul, Thea Neushul, Sarah Owens, Chloe Pena, Grace Raisin, Georgia Ransone, Jaymie Stryker, Alex Szymczak, Jocelyn Thorpe, and Sophia Trumbell (goalie). Sophia Trumbull was named goalkeeper of the tournament and Ryann Neushul was MVP.

Led by Connor Levoff and Cathy Neushul, the 16U girls tore through San Jose, Huntington Beach, Northwood, and Saddleback-El Toro before obliterating Foothill Water Polo Club 16 to 4 in the semifinal game. They then defeated perennial power Socal 10-6 in the final to win the club’s first 16U National Club Championship since 2010. The 16s placed 8th at last year’s championship tournament. The 2014 National Club Champions include Jessie Brummett, Kate Coski, Mackenzie Fell, Kristina Garcia, Hailey Gellert, Paige Hauschild, Lara Kostruba, Brittany Prentice, Jessee Ransone, Toni Shackelford, Piper Smith (Goalie), and Britni Tisdale. Paige Hauschild was named tournament MVP.

Santa Barbara’s 12U’s, defending 2013 National Club Champions, fell to Commerce water polo club in a battle that came down to the last 19 seconds when an underwater play by Coach Chuckie Roth produced a wide open shot that was field blocked by the center guard. The 12’s shut Commerce out in the 4th quarter but were unable to catch them on offense and fell 5 to 6. The 2014 Silver Medalists included Anna Cable, Shannon Connally, Charlize Winter, Ella Prentice, Abigail Hendrix, Sabina Shackelford, Claire Kronen, Megan Musick, Hannah Meyer, Cassidy Miller, Angela Drake, and Ana Amaral. Anna Cable played in goal. Roth was assisted by Kelsey Hendrix.

Santa Barbara’s 18U girls coached by Cathy Neushul and Alexis Lee (VHS/SBWPC/Stanford), Silver Medalists at last year’s National Club Championships, started strong in pool play with victories over Newport Harbor and Los Angeles Water Polo Club. They then lost to eventual champion San Diego Shores 4-7 at the end of bracket play and then went into sudden death overtime battle with eventual runner up Socal where they lost 5-6. The 18s finished seventh overall and included Kaybree Albright (SMHS), Megan Bergthold (SBHS), Anna Brummett (SBHS/Michigan), Shannon Cleary (DPHS/Stanford), Jessica Gaffney (SBHS/Claremont McKenna), Kelsey Gellert (SMHS), Betsy Hendrix (SBHS/UCSB), Halie Johnson (SMHS), Natalie Kayton, Amanda Longan (Oaks Christian), Ryann Neushul (DPHS), Ari St. Oeger (DPHS/Loyola Marymount), Jenna Phreaner (SMHS), Ariana Singer (VHS), Morgan Towner (VHS), and Jordan Williams (DPHS). Jeanna Phreanor and Amanda Longan shared time in goal.

Next weekend Santa Barbara will compete at the Senior Women’s Open National Championship where members of Santa Barbara’s 18U and 16U squad will join Senior National team members Kami Craig, Kiley Neushul, Kaleigh Gilchrist, and Ashleigh Johnson to compete for the club’s first ever Women’s Open Championship. Kami Craig (SBWPC/SBHS/USC) is a two time Olympian and Gold Medalist at the London games. The open championship will be held in Commerce, CA.

SBAC’s Craig, Hill and Neushul are 2014 Kirishi Cup Champions

Posted ago by Peter Neushul

Kami Craig, Sami Hill, and Kiley Neushul helped lead Team USA to victory in the 2014 Kirishi Cup on Friday in Kirishi, Russia. The US finished with 13 points in the series after victories over Hungary, Russia, Italy, and Holland and at tie with Spain. Hungary placed second with 9 points and host Russia finished third.

Hill was dominant in goal with 11 saves against Hungary in the first game and 14 in Team USA’s 11-4 victory over a powerful Italian squad. Neushul had several multi-goal games including scoring three in the 6-5 victory over Holland on the last day of the tournament. Craig, the premier center forward in the world, is recovering from an injury to her left hand sustained during Team USA’s gold medal win at the World League Championship in Kunshan, China.

In the final game with Holland the United States went 2/7 on power plays and 1/1 on penalty shots while the Netherlands went 3/7 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty shot. USA Head Coach Krikorian commented that “We struggled to execute offensively but thankfully our defense was sharp. It’s been a great combination of training and competition for us over these two weeks. We’ve made progress and I look forward to the journey ahead.” Next up for Team USA are the FINA World Championships held in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia in August.

Santa Barbara’s Craig, Hill, and Neushul Lead Team USA into World Semis

Posted ago by Peter Neushul

Santa Barbara Water Polo Club’s Kami Craig, Sami Hill, and Kiley Neushul are in Kunshan, China, competing with Team USA in the 2014 FINA Women’s Water Polo World League Championships. Santa Barbara’s Kami Craig is a 2012 Gold Medalist and the most accomplished center forward in the world. Craig continues to play for Santa Barbara Water Polo Club and will compete with the team at the 2014 Women’s Open. Hill and Neushul are longtime team mates from Dos Pueblos High School who grew up competing for Santa Barbara Water Polo Club and are now accomplished collegiate and National Team players.

The US began Tuesday’s group play with a tense 11-10 victory over Russia. The game was tied 6-6 in regulation after a spectacular Sami Hill block was negated by the referee and a shootout ensued. Both teams missed once in the first round and Kiley Neushul fired home the game winner in the second. Hill sealed the victory with her second block of the shootout. Neushul scored two goals in regulation.

On day two of group play the US pounded Canada 16-5 with Hill posting nine saves in goal. Craig hammered home a goal from center forward and Neushul scored two from the field. In the final play-in game, the US met Spain for the first time since losing 6-9 to the 2014 World Champions in Barcelona over the summer. Spain jumped out to a two goal lead and was a perfect 3 for 3 on extra man before the half. The US fought back with action goals and tied the game 5-5 at the break. Sami Hill and a strong USA defense locked down Spain for the remainder of the game as they failed to score in the second half. Neushul’s six meter blast, her second goal of the game, slammed the door on Spain for an 8-5 victory.

Advancing first out of their bracket, Team USA won their quarterfinal match over Brazil, 11-1, in by far their easiest victory of the tournament. Craig scored from center forward and Neushul had three goals from the field. Tight team defense pushed Brazil’s centers off of two meters, forcing the offense away from the goal and making Sami Hill (9 saves) all the more intimidating for outside shooters. The US will now meet World Silver Medalists Australia in the semi-finals at 4:20AM (PST) tomorrow.

Team USA lost 7-5 to the veteran Aussies in the gold medal match at the May 2014 FINA Intercontinental Tournament held in Riverside. Craig, Hill, and Neushul will face physical play from the Stingers who narrowly defeated Canada, 8-7 to advance to the semis. Host China eliminated Spain in their quarterfinal match and will match up with undefeated Italy in the other semi-final. Team USA finished third at the 2013 World League Final in Beijing, China.

FINA TV will broadcast bot semi-fnal games live at

Amanda Redfern 2013-14 Indiana University Women’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Winner

Posted ago by Peter Neushul

CHICAGO, Ill. — Amanda Redfern (Sr., Goleta, Calif./Dos Pueblos) of the Indiana University women’s water polo team is the institution’s 2013-14 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner for women’s athletics.

Redfern notched 20 goals and 10 assists for 30 points with eight steals in 2014 as the Hoosiers claimed both the Western Division and CWPA Championships to take the league’s automatic berth to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship at the University of Southern California. She concludes her career with 74 goals and 40 assists for 114 points with 42 steals as Indiana captured the 2011 and 2014 CWPA Championships and automatic berths to the NCAA Championships.

The Sportsmanship Award winners for each gender from the 12 Big Ten schools were selected from a group of more than 300 student-athletes honored throughout the academic year who had displayed positive sportsmanship.

One member of each varsity sports team on every campus was chosen by his or her institution as a Sportsmanship Award honoree, and two Outstanding Sportsmanship Award winners were then selected from each institution. All of the Sportsmanship Award winners distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the honorees are in good academic standing and demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.