Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 5, 2013

Stanford grad Seidemann adds to her player of the year awards and rejoins Olympic teammates on USA squad

by Rick Eymer

The year just keeps getting better for recent Stanford grad Melissa Seidemann. The two-meter standout was named ACWPC Player of the Year to headline six Cardinal women's water polo players selected to the organization's All-America teams.

The announcement marks the third straight year that a Stanford player has claimed the ACWPC's top player honor, as Seidemann follows Kiley Neushul (2012) and Annika Dries (2011).

Seidemann and freshman Maggie Steffens were named first team All-Americans, Dries and Neushul were selected to the second team while senior Kate Baldoni and junior Kaley Dodson earned honorable mention.

The six players helped lead the Cardinal to a 29-3 record and a fourth straight trip to the NCAA Championship Game, where Stanford fell 10-9 to USC in quadruple overtime.

For Seidemann, who earned her fourth-career All-America honor, it completes a sweep of national player of the year honors as she earned the Peter J. Cutino Award June 1. In 2013 Seidemann led the Cardinal with 75 goals which brought her career tally to 239, tying her with Lauren Silver '09 atop Stanford's career scoring list. She netted 15 hat tricks among her 23 multi-goal games and was named to the All-MPSF First Team and to the National Collegiate All-Tournament Team.

Steffens, also a first-team All-MPSF pick, earned her first All-America nod after finishing second on the team with 60 goals in 2013. A 2012 Olympic gold medalist with Seidemann and Dries, Steffens posted nine hat tricks among her 20 multi-goal games.

Dries, who earned her third All-America nod, scored 35 goals including five hat tricks and 10 multi-goal games despite missing the first month of the season due to injury.

Neushul followed up her 2012 national player of the year campaign with 50 goals in 2013, including nine hat tricks, and being named to the All-MPSF First Team.

Baldoni finished her Cardinal career as the anchor of the MPSF's top defense, averaging 7.53 saves a game and leading the MPSF with a 4.57 goals-against average. Combined with the rest of the team's goalie corps and its field defense, Baldoni helped the Cardinal to a team figure of just 4.59 goals allowed per game.

A big part of that field defense was Dodson, who was a key member of the Cardinal perimeter. Dodson, who earned her third All-America nod, also scored 31 goals including three hat tricks in 2013.

The NCAA Division III team included Sacred Heart Prep grad Sarah Westcott of Pomona-Pitzer. She was named to the first team.

Her teammate, Katy Schaefer from Los Altos, received honorable mention.

In other news:

Six local water polo players have been named to the U.S. National Team travel roster for the 2013 FINA World Championships this month in Barcelona, Spain. Of the 14 players selected, 13 will be chosen to compete with one serving as an alternate.

The roster includes Silver. Seidemann, Dries, Neushul, Steffens and Sacred Heart Prep/UCLA grad KK Clark of Menlo Park.

The 14 athletes selected feature eight returners from the team that won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games. The rest of the team showcases established veterans with National Team experience alongside up-and-comers from the college game.

Fresh off a bronze medal at the 2013 FINA World League Super Final, the team will travel to the Netherlands to compete in an exhibition tournament before heading on to Barcelona.

Team USA will open competition at the FINA World Championships against Greece on July 21. It will then meet Canada and Great Britain to close out group play. The United States finished sixth at the last World Championships in 2011. Team USA has won three FINA World Championships (2003, 2007, 2009).

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