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Women’s Water Polo Sweeps Top Southern Honors; Four Tigers Recognized

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 04/25/2013
Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications
From l to r: Ashleigh Johnson, Luis Nicolao and Katie Rigler
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After capturing its seventh Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Southern Division championship, the Princeton women’s water polo team swept the top divisional individual honors, it was announced Thursday. Katie Rigler and Ashleigh Johnson were named Player and Rookie of the Year, respectively, and Luis Nicolao was voted Coach of the Year. Rigler, Johnson and sophomores Taylor Dunstan and Camille Hooks were named to the All-Southern Team.

Junior Rigler earned her second consecutive Player of the Year award and third top honor, having been named Rookie of the Year in 2011. A three-time All-Southern First Team selection, the utility led Princeton with a team-best 56 goals, while adding 21 steals, 11 assists, six blocks and drawing 36 ejections. Rigler is only the fifth Tiger to earn Player of the Year honors and the third to be named multiple times.

Freshman Johnson literally made a splash from her debut through the regular season. She is the first Tiger goalie to earn Rookie of the Year honors, following her 23-win and counting season. The goaltender recorded 10 or more saves 15 times, including setting the program’s single-game saves record with 19 in her career debut versus then-No. 4 Cal on Feb. 8. Johnson also earned first team honors, marking the first Tiger goalie to be named to the first team since Kristen Ward ’12 in 2009.

Dunstan earned her inaugural career conference honor, as she was voted to the first team in her first season as a starter. The utility tallied 26 assists, 18 steals, 16 goals and drew 32 ejections in 28 appearances and 24 starts.

Rounding out Princeton’s conference honorees was another first time honoree in second team selection Hooks. After coming back from injury and missing the beginning portion of the year, the utility amassed 24 assists, 17 steals, 16 goals, a block and drew six ejections over 20 games.

Nicolao picked up his seventh career Coach of the Year award at the helm of the women’s program, with 2013 marking his fourth Southern Coach of the Year accolade. Since taking over the program, he has guided the Tigers to seven 23-plus win seasons and its first NCAA Championship appearance in 2012.

Princeton (23-5, 5-0 Southern) enters the Eastern Championship as the No. 2 seed this weekend and will look to defend its conference crown and make a return trip to NCAAs in May.

Southern Division Team    

Player of the Year:

  Katie Rigler (Princeton University)
Coach of the Year:   Luis Nicolao (Princeton University)
Rookie of the Year:   Ashleigh Johnson (Princeton University)
First Team    
Ashleigh Johnson (Goalie)   Princeton University
Katie Rigler $#!   Princeton University
Taylor Dunstan   Princeton University
Kate Woods $*!   Brown University
Madison Pepper   Brown University
Aisha Price   Harvard University
Rachael Bentley   George Washington University
Second Team    
Ariel Dukes (Goalie)   Harvard University
Yoshi Andersen   Harvard University
Mackenzie Ferry   Bucknell University
Julianne Valdes @   Bucknell University
Camille Hooks   Princeton University
Megan Brolley   George Washington University
Lisett Calderon @%   Mercyhurst University
$2012 Southern Division First Team; @2012 Western Division Second Team; #2012 Southern Division Player of the Year; *2011 Southern Division Rookie of the Year; !2011 Southern Division First Team;%2010 Western Division Rookie of the Year
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