IRVINE, Calif. – The Big West Conference announced its women’s water polo all-conference selections Wednesday as voted by the league coaches with five members of the University of Hawai`i earning recognition. Headlining the group were senior attacker Monika Eggens who was named Big West Player of the Year and second-year skipper Maureen Cole who was tabbed Big West Coach of the Year.
Also picking up accolades were Amarens Genee (first team), Paula Chillida Esforzado (second team) and Emily Carr (honorable mention). The Rainbow Wahine won both the Big West regular-season and tournament titles in their debut season in the league.
Eggens led the conference in goals scored this season with 93 and set Big West records for most goals in a season, goals per game (3.10) and most goals scored in the conference tournament (9).The native of British Columbia, a two-time first-team All-American and all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selection, is the first UH player to earn conference player of the year honors.
Earlier this week, Eggens was named the Big West Tournament MVP after leading UH to the tournament title, including the game-winning goal in a 5-4 double-overtime win over UC Irvine in the championship match. Eggens became the school’s all-time leading scorer (244 goals) during the tournament and is just six goals shy of setting a new UH single-season mark.
Genee, a senior center, ranks second on team with 59 goals. The native of Gorinchem, Netherlands, was named Big West Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks earlier this year. Her first honor came after she exploded for a career seven goals in a win over Colorado State, the highest output by a Rainbow Wahine this year and third-highest in school history. The following week she won the honor again after scoring a team-high five goals in a win over Cal State Northridge that helped UH clinch a share of the Big West regular-season title. Genee was a second-team all-MPSF selection last year.
Chillida-Esforzado made an immediate impact for the Rainbow Wahine as a true freshman this year. A member of the Spanish national team, the native of Barcelona tallied 50 goals—third best on the team—and tallied eight hat tricks this year, including a career-high five goals in a win over UC Davis. Carr, a junior from Sydney, Australia has tallied 28 goals so this year, including a trio of goals in a key conference road win at Long Beach State
Cole was recognized as Coach of the Year for leading her program to the top of the Big West in the program’s debut season. UH won the Big West Conference regular-season and tournament titles a year after going winless in their final season in the MPSF. Prior to serving as head coach, Cole was a UH assistant for five years and a coach on UH’s 2009 NCAA Tournament team.
Next up for Hawai’i (21-9, 6-1 Big West) is the 2013 NCAA Championship, May 10-12, in Boston. The No. 4 seed Rainbow Wahine will open the tournament vs. No. 5 seed UC San Diego on Friday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. HT).
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*