WATER POLO: Mustangs reel in eight league awards

Junior Michelle Shields was second on the team with 69 goals.

Four players earn First-Team All-League recognition
Six Gilroy High girls varsity water polo players were recognized by the Tri-County Athletic League for their accomplishments in the pool, including four First Team selections, two Second Team bids and the league’s Most Valuable Player.

Though the Mustangs’ season ended abruptly in the first round of the Central Coast Section playoffs, GHS left a long stretch of would-be opponents in their wake, posting a 23-2 record and the program’s first league championship, going 9-0 in league during the regular season and picking up another three victories in the league championship


At the helm, the TCAL’s Coach of the Year, Sean LaGuardia, who garners the award in back-to-back seasons.

The Mustangs’ high-powered offense demonstrated the ability time and time again to score from anywhere in the pool. GHS found the cage 289 times in 2010 for an 11.56 per game average.

Despite constant double and triple teams by opposing defenses, senior Chelsea Hill’s ability to create opportunities was not overlooked. Hill led the team in scoring for the second season, registering an astronomical 74 goals and earned league MVP as well as a First-Team selection.

Joining Hill on the First-Team list are seniors Lauren Rhodes and Devan Lauber, and junior Michelle Shields.

At goalie, Lauber grew into one of the league’s most dominant stoppers and became the backbone of a suffocating Mustangs’ defense, batting away with one hand, both hands, both arms and whatever else she could to get in the way of 222 shots this season.

Shields, the quickest of the Mustangs, swiped 58 steals and was a close second on the team in goals with 69. Rhodes’ knack of finding the open swimmer led to her team-high 31 assists to go along with 53 goals.

Seniors Nicole Nelsen and Leah Ailes grabbed spots on the Second-Team. Ailes – 12 goals, 23 assists, 38 steals – had a soaring second half of the season all the while battling a nagging shoulder injury. Nelsen, also struggled with a shoulder ailment, tallied 44 times prior to missing the team’s final few games of the season.

Each team in the league nominates one member for the Richard Chamberlin Sportsmanship Award. Shields picked up the honor for the Mustangs.

Tri-County Athletic League Awards

MVP – Chelsea Hill, Gilroy

Coach of the Year – Sean LaGuardia, Gilroy

School Sportsmanship – Santa Catalina

First Team – All-TCAL

Michelle Shields, Gilroy; Lauren Rhodes, Gilroy; Chelsea Hill, Gilroy; Devan Lauber, Gilroy; Marieke Liem, San Benito; Caitlin Schafer, San Benito; Hannah Smith, San Benito; Claire Margolis, Stevenson; Caitlin Stuewe, Stevenson; Sarah Gonzales, Stevenson; Rachel Davidson, Salinas; Riley Bertucio, Santa Catalina.

Second Team – All-TCAL

Nicole Nelsen, Gilroy; Leah Ailes, Gilroy; Lauren Lango, San Benito; Jeanett Rodriguez, San Benito; Rachel Estep, San Benito; Allie Loomis, Santa Catalina; Colleen Mayone, Monterey; Caitlyn Costa, Monterey; Tenney Shaffer, Salinas; Dana Meyenberg, Salinas; Chris Cate, Carmel; Francis Atkins, Carmel.

TCAL Richard Chamberlin Sportsmanship Award

Michelle Shields, Gilroy; Anna Dickson, San Benito; Sarah Gonzales, Stevenson; Sydney Clark, Salinas; Chelsea Sanford, Carmel; Rae Gregory, Santa Catalina; Allison Short, Monterey; Trinity Siraski, Watsonville.

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