Menlo-Atherton High senior Emily Dorst, and U.S. national team member Maggie Steffens head the latest group of standouts to sign National Letters of Intent for the Stanford women's water polo program Wednesday.
Dorst and Steffens are joined by Catherine Carpenter of Newport Harbor High, Cory Dodson of Los Alamitos High, Ashley Grossman of Harvard-Westlake High and Kiley Neushul of Dos Pueblos High.
"This is a wonderful recruiting class, in terms of international experience and achievement, high school and club dominance, and position balance," Stanford coach John Tanner said. "They are great athletes who will bring a ton of passion and personality to Avery Aquatic Center and to our campus."
The goalie of this year's recruiting class, Dorst becomes the latest in a string of outstanding local players to compete for Tanner, who also attended M-A.
A two-time CIF Central Coast Section first-team selection, NISCA All-America pick and league Goalie of the Year, Dorst led M-A to the prestigious Northern California High School Championship Tournament title in 2009.
Dorst's father Chris was a two-time All-American in the net for the Cardinal from 1973-76 and her mother, Marybeth (Linzmeier), was an eight-time NCAA champion swimmer for the Cardinal.
"Emily plays great position, closing down angles and limiting looks," Tanner said. "She also has the leg strength and arm length to cover the goal on perimeter shots and has become a terrific passer, allowing her team to take more chances in transition."
Steffens, whose older sister Jessica played for Stanford, scored the gold medal-winning goal in the penalty shootout against Australia in last summers FINA World League Finals, and then helped the U.S. capture another gold medal at the FINA World Cup in New Zealand.
"Maggie is an incredibly dynamic and skilled attacking player who is constantly creating scoring chances and loves to play defense," Tanner said. "She has already proven herself at the highest level of the sport, being entrusted with major decisions and pressure shots in world title games. Maggie has an uncanny ability to raise the level of play of everyone around her."
Carpenter was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Division I Team and a second-team All-Sunset League performer following her junior season in 2010. The Sailors won the league title and advanced to the Division I section title game. On the club level, Carpenter's team, which has been comprised exclusively of Newport Harbor players, has finished in the top 10 of the past three USA Junior Olympics.
The signing of Carpenter also makes her a second-generation Cardinal student-athlete, joining her father, Scott, who lettered in football at Stanford.
"Catherine is a rugged, tenacious defender who constantly challenges for position, denies entry passes, and prevents quality shots from two meters," Tanner said. "She is also a fast, relentless counter attacker who puts pressure on opposing setters and teams."
Dodson joins her older sister, Kaley, at Stanford next fall. Cory, a 5-8 driver/defender, scored 74 goals as a junior last year, helping lead Los Alamitos High squad to the CIF Division I section semifinals. On the international level, Dodson is a member of the U.S. National Junior 'B' Team, and was the leading scorer at the Junior Pan-American Games this past August, helping lead the U.S. to the silver medal.
"Cory is tough, smart, and skillful," said Tanner. "She seems always to be in the right place to create scoring chances for her team and to deny them to opponents. I'm excited about her chances to excel at this level because she already has the poise of much more experienced players."
Grossman, a 5-11 two-meter player, is a member of the U.S. Senior National Team training squad, and competed at the FINA World League Trials this past May. On the club level, Grossman was part of three different national championship-winning Los Angeles Water Polo Club teams, and was named the MVP of the 18-Under USA Water Polo Junior Olympics tournament.
"Ashley is a fantastic goal scorer, a nightmare to defend," Tanner said. "She is solid in every phase of the game, but above all, Ashley is an explosive finisher. She led the way in LA Water Polo Club's summer trifecta, putting up impressive scoring totals against her peers, against college players, and against post-grads. She has a very bright future."
Neushul is also a U.S. Senior National Team member and was part of the squad that traveled to Australia and New Zealand over the summer. In high school, she was named CIF Southern Section MVP for the third consecutive time, and most recently helped her team to a 31-0 record and a third straight section title in 2010.
"Kiley is a relentless, brilliant player who figures out a way to win. She has terrific skills and speed along with amazing water polo intelligence and leadership ability, which is why she is on the US Senior National Team," Tanner said. "She has led her Dos Pueblos team to three consecutive high school section titles, winning elimination game after elimination game in hostile environments. It's going to be a thrill to have Kiley here on the Farm."
Stanford opens the 2011 season in January. Last year the Cardinal reached the NCAA championship game (losing there) and finished the season with a 26-3 overall record.