Four Stanford men's water polo players earned All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honors Tuesday as the conference announced its all-conference teams.
Junior utility Alex Bowen was named to the First Team, sophomore driver Bret Bonanni and redshirt senior two-meter Forrest Watkins were named to the Second Team and sophomore driver BJ Churnside was named honorable mention.
The quartet will be in action along with the rest of the Cardinal this Thursday at the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship at Avery Aquatic Center. The Cardinal opens the draw against SCIAC champion Whittier College Thursday at 2:45 p.m. The winner of that contest moves on to Saturday's semifinal at 2:45 p.m. against No. 2 Pacific.
Bowen headlined the Cardinal selections by earning a spot on the All-MPSF First Team for the third straight year. The San Diego native has scored a career-high 67 goals this season, eclipsing his 2012 total of 64, and is second on the team in goals scored.
Watkins' selection to the All-MPSF Second Team was his third all-conference recognition as well. The fifth-year senior two-meter was named to the First Team in 2011 and honorable mention a year ago. This season, Watkins has been a presence for the Cardinal on both ends of the pool, contributing to a defense that allows just 7.50 goals per game, and on offense adding 29 goals.
Bonanni and Churnside each earned their second straight All-MPSF nods. Last season Bonanni was named to the First Team as well as the conference's Newcomer of the Year, while Churnside was named honorable mention. This year Bonanni leads the MPSF and the Cardinal with 89 goals, just nine away from Michael Sharf's MPSF single-season record of 98 set in 2007. His 3.42 goals-per-game average is also tops in the conference.
Churnside earned his second straight honorable mention from the MPSF following a regular season in which he has scored 38 goals, moving past his freshman-year total of 31.
Stanford has signed 10 players to letters of intent, all from different states, illustrating the program's commitment to recruiting throughout the country.
Stanford's signees are Allie DaCar (Pleasanton), Paige Jubinsky (Dallas,Texas), Emily Koufakis (Manhasset, N.Y.), Kelly Myers (Alexandria, Va.), Maggie Nick (Chicago,IL), Madison O'Leary (Gainesville, Fla.), Madeline Pilchard (Pocomoke City, Md.), Katie Schneider (Wayne, Pa.), Dillon Schoen (Darien, Conn.), and Sandy Smith (Germantown, Tenn.). They will join the Cardinal for the 2015 season.
"We are very excited to welcome this exceptional group of student-athletes to our lacrosse program," Stanford coach Amy Bokker said. "These young women are accomplished on and off the lacrosse field. Our staff has worked hard to recruit the top players from all areas of the country, and with 10 states represented in this class we feel we have outstanding national representation. We look forward to them joining our current group of dedicated student-athletes."
DaCar, from Amador Valley High, is regarded as the top goalie in Northern California. She helped her team to the East Bay Athletic League title and into the North Coast Section Division I final in 2013. DaCar, an honorable mention All-America, is a National Merit Scholar and was selected as the NCS Scholar Athlete of the Year for spring sports.
Maddie Bauer became the first Stanford freshman in four years to be named to the All-Pacific Region first team for women's soccer.
Bauer, a central defender, was among three Stanford players named to the First Team, joining fifth-year senior forward Courtney Verloo and junior midfielder Lo'eau LaBonta. This is the third all-region selection for Verloo and the first for LaBonta. No other Cardinal were named to the three NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Pacific Region teams.
Bauer moved into the spot occupied for four years by All-America Alina Garciamendez, who set a school record with 102 career starts. Bauer, from Newport Beach, immediately stepped into the lineup and started all but one match, which she missed because of injury. She became the first freshman from Stanford to be named to the First Team since Mariah Nogueira in 2009.
LaBonta, of Rancho Cucamonga, provided fire and spark and a willingness to battle for goals.Though she stands at 5-foot-2, LaBonta also was among the team's best in the air. She scored four goals, including an equalizer in the 89th minute against UCLA in an eventual 2-1 double-overtime loss.
Verloo, of Tualatin, Ore., tied Taylor Uhl for the team lead in points, with 24. Verloo's nine goals and six assists gave her 23 goals and 25 assists (71 points) for her career. Verloo had five game-winning goals, including during a 3-2 overtime victory at Santa Clara when she earned Stanford's first hat trick in three years, all on dead-ball kicks.
Fourteen different Stanford players have now totaled 24 first-team all-region selections over the past six seasons. In all, 29 Stanford players have combined for 50 First-Team honors.