Ashleigh Bandimere Named WWPA co-Newcomer of the Year, Laura Espinosa and Marina Allen Also Named All-Conference

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. –
The Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) announced its annual end of the season awards today. Ashleigh Bandimere (pictured) was named the WWPA co-Newcomer of the Year while seniors Laura Espinosa (Second Team) and Marina Allen (Honorable Mention) drew praise on the all-conference teams.

It marks the second consecutive season the Broncos had one of the best young players in the league. Claire Eadington won Newcomer of the Year honors in 2011.

Bandimere, a true-freshman from Carlsbad, Calif. and Carlsbad High School, has been named The Santa Clara Athlete of the Week during a rookie season in which she has stepped up, not only to score goals, but to contribute in a number of different ways. Her play has helped the Broncos finish the regular season strong heading into the upcoming WWPA Championships.

"Ashleigh Bandimere has been having a great freshman year," said Santa Clara head coach Keith Wilbur. "She is third on the team in scoring with 31 goals, and she is also third on the team in earned ejections with 29. She has been a very valuable addition to our team, and I am very glad to see the conference has recognized her as Newcomer of the Year."

Senior classmates Espinosa and Allen were tabbed among the league's best. It marks the second straight year Espinosa has been named an All-WWPA honoree, while Allen makes the list for the first time, having enjoyed one of her most productive seasons.

"Laura Espinosa and Marina Allen have both played at a high level throughout the season," said Wilbur. "Laura has been a force at two meters all season long.  She has broken her own record for earned ejections in a season with 84 while also scoring 27 goals, and we still have three games to go.

"Marina has been an offensive catalyst, using her speed, game sense, and shooting ability to lead our team with 44 goals and 36 assists.  They both have had outstanding years, and I think it is great that they received all conference recognition."

Santa Clara is prepping for the 2012 WWPA Championships at UC San Diego. The tournament runs from Friday, April 27 through Sunday April 29. The Broncos matchup with Cal State East Bay in the No. 4 seed-No. 5 seed game in the opening round, Friday at 1:30 p.m.

2012 Western Water Polo Association Women's Water Polo Honors

Player of the Year:
Casey Flacks (DR, Sr.) – LMU
Co-­Newcomers of the Year:
Ariel Lockshaw (GK, Jr.) – Sonoma St. & Ashleigh Bandimere – Santa Clara

First-­Team WWPA All-­Conference

Jessica Browning (2MO, Jr.) – CSU Bakersfield
Casey Flacks (DR, Sr.)  – LMU
Alexandra Honny (DR, So.) – LMU
Sarah Lizotte (UTL, So.) – UC San Diego
Claire Pierce (UT, Jr.) – Cal State East Bay
Elise Ponce (GK, Sr.) – LMU
Nikki Smart (A, SR) ‐ Cal State Monterey Bay

Second-­Team WWPA All‐Conference
Kirsten Bates (CTR, Sr.) – UC San Diego
Kimberly Benedetti (2M, Sr.) – LMU
Kallie Berry (DEF, Sr.) – Colorado St.
Laura Espinosa (2M, Sr.) – Santa Clara
Ariel Lockshaw (GK, Jr.) – Sonoma St.
Sam Shead (2MD, Jr.) – CSU Bakersfield
Misty Vu (UTL, Jr.) – CS San Bernardino

Honorable Mention WWPA All-­Conference
Marina Allen (DR, Sr.) – Santa Clara
Erica Crain (UT, Sr.) – Cal State East Bay
Taylor Hanson (UTL, So.) – CSU Bakersfield
Laura Kunz (UTL, Jr.) – Sonoma St.
Erin Manke (DR, Jr.) – LMU
Shannon McKenzie (DR, Jr.) – CSU Bakersfield
Jayme Pekarske (GK) – Cal State East Bay
Caroline Young (UTL, Jr.) – Colorado St.

WWPA All-­‐Freshman Team
Ashleigh Bandimere – Santa Clara
Kelcy Barott (CTR) – Colorado St.
Alex Bayer (GK) – CSU Bakersfield
Mackenzie Beck (UTL) – LMU
Rachel Brooks (UTL) – UC San Diego
Brittny Hummel (UTL) – Sonoma St.
Laura Lopez (DR) – LMU
Janelle Shelby (2MO) – CSU Bakersfield

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