May 4, 2011
BERKELEY - California women's water polo head coach Rich Corso was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year, the conference announced Wednesday. Junior goalkeeper Stephanie Peckham was named the Most Valuable Player of the MPSF Tournament, and Emily Csikos was selected for the all-tournament team after the Bears won the championship title. Corso also coached Peckham, Csikos, Breda Vosters, and Dana Ochsner to the 2011 all-conference team, in addition to Ashley Young and Kelly Mendoza, who were both named to the all-newcomer team.
Picked fifth in this year's MPSF preseason poll, sixth-year head coach Rich Corso led California to a first-ever MPSF Tournament Championship and repeat appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a 24-4 record. He has the Bears in the top-three in conference scoring (11.46 GPG, second) and scoring defense (6.18 GAA, third). Four Bears rank amongst the MPSF scoring leaders, while junior goalkeeper Stephanie Peckham is the MPSF saves leader. Corso led the team to the No. 2 spot in the national coaches polls, the highest the team has ever been ranked, where they have remained since March 9. Winners in 12 of its last 13 games, California enters the NCAA Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the nation.
"It is a great honor to have been selected as coach of the year in such a prestigious conference as the MPSF," Corso said. "But I am definitely sharing this honor with the rest of my staff and student-athletes. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to do my job and I wouldn't be winning this award. It was a complete team effort."
Peckham, a Coto de Caza, Calif. native, has been stellar guarding the Bears' goal this year, tallying 174 saves in 17 games with 26 saves last weekend in the MPSF Tournament to earn her the MPSF Tournament Most Valuable Player award. The junior goalie was named the MPSF Player of the Week twice this season, on April 4 and March 7, and stands at the top of the conference in saves per game to gain a spot on the all-conference first team. Peckham has already recorded 790 saves in three years, first on the school's all-time career save list.
A standout from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Csikos is one of the Bears leading scorers with 27 goals in 28 games. Scoring in each of the Bears' matches during the MPSF Tournament, Csikos earned all-tournament as well as all-conference honors. Csikos also received all-conference honorable mention last year.
Leading scorer for the Bears, sophomore driver Breda Vosters earned a spot on the All-MPSF Second-Team. Vosters has notched 62 goals in 28 games, fourth in the MPSF with 2.21 goals per game. Vosters, from Winnepeg, Montoba, Canada, was named the MPSF Player of the Week on Jan. 31.
Ochsner, from Oceanside Calif., also earned All-MPSF Second-Team honors. The sophomore's 35 goals in 28 games this season make her the third highest scorer on the team. Ochsner was on the All-MPSF Freshman Team in the 2010 season and continues to produce for the Bears.
Freshmen Young and Mendoza were both named to the All-MPSF Newcomer Team. Young, from Coronado, Calif., is the Bears' second leading scorer with 37 goals in 28 games for an average of 1.32 goals per game. Mendoza, from Alamo, Calif., has scored 24 times this season and takes the sixth highest-scoring spot on the team.
The Cal women's water polo team, 24-4, has qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history and will take on UC San Diego (17-18) in a first round match-up on Friday, May 13 at 1 p.m. PT at the Canham Natatorium, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.