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.