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Five to Join Princeton Women's Water Polo in Incoming Class

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 05/06/2014
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Courtesy: Jon Temple

PRINCETON (5/6/14) -- Water polo coach Luis Nicolao has announced the five student-athletes that will join the Princeton women's water polo team next year as the team's Class of 2018. The group joins a returning group of 13 players as Princeton aims at its third Eastern title in four years.

Sydney Cheong, 2MD, Los Angeles, Calif., Harvard-Westlake School, Rose Bowl Water Polo Club

Sydney Cheong will join the Tigers and will immediately provide a strong presence in the defensive end of the pool with her size and strength. Cheong was a four-year varsity letter winner at Harvard-Westlake and served as a team captain as a senior. Her teams won four league championships and a pair of CIF titles. Cheong was three-time All-CIF and the Mission League Most Valuable Player as a senior. Cheong was also a varsity swimmer and softball player in high school and is a nationally ranked equestrienne. She also has collected numerous academic honors, including being a National Merit semifinalist and the Harvard-Westlake Cuscaden-Blackwood Awards as the school’s outstanding junior. She is also a concert violinist and has performed at Carnegie Hall.

Chelsea Johnson, 2M, Miami, Fla., Ransom Everglades School, Gulliver Riptides

Chelsea Johnson will join her sister Ashleigh on the Tiger roster next year and will develop into an important part of Princeton’s game quickly. Johnson was a three-time all-county player and is a two-time All-American. Johnson was an ODP Southeast zone selection from 2010-2012 and played on the cadet national team in 2011. She is a member of the Honor Roll at Ransom Everglades and also plays for the Gulliver Riptides club team.

Emily Smith, Lefty Utlity, Woodland Hills, Calif., Agoura High School, Los Angeles Water Polo Club

Emily Smith should come in and give the Tigers big minutes early in her career and allow the team to employ different looks with a second lefty. Smith was her league’s player of the year as both a junior and senior and is a three-time all-league and all-county honoree. She is a two-time All-CIF honoree and has attended two USA Water Polo National Team Selection Camps. Smith is a two-time USA Water Polo Academic All-American and student council member.

Helena van Brande, Goalie, Newbury Park, Calif., Newbury Park High School, Los Angeles Water Polo Club

Helena van Brande will join Ashleigh Johnson to form Princeton’s goalie corps. She will give the Tigers another quick and mobile option in goal and both goalies will push each other during the season. Van Brande played water polo at Newbury Park High School and for the Los Angeles Water Polo Club, excelling in goal for both teams. Van Brande has National Team experience with the women’s youth team in both 2013 and 2014. She was her league goalie of the year and first-team all-county as a senior and is a two-time all-league and two-time All-CIF goalie. Van Brande was a recipient of an AP Scholar Award and is a four-time recipient of her school’s Scholar-Athlete Award.

Haley Wan, Utility, Irvine, Calif., Santa Margarita Catholic High School, SOCAL Water Polo Club

Haley Wan will provide an immediate presence in both ends of the pool for the Tigers. A four-year varsity water polo player and swimmer at Santa Margarita Catholic, Wan was the school’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2014. Wan has played the SOCAL Water Polo club for six years and has earned two silvers and two bronzes at Junior Olympics. She twice was a JO All-American and has had the chance to travel to Puerto Rico, Hungary and Australia to compete. She was a three-year captain in high school and is the schools career league in goals, steals and field blocks. Wan helped SMCHS to a pair of CIF championships and was a four-year All-CIF player and the 2013 and 2014 CIF Division II Player of the Year.

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