National Champs Sign Seven For 2015
Nov. 20, 2013
The defending NCAA champion USC women's water polo team has a strong future ahead with plenty of talented reinforcements set to start their Trojan careers in 2014-15. USC head coach Jovan Vavic -- a 12-time National Coach of the Year -- has announced the signing of seven newcomers who will join the Women of Troy as freshman for the 2015 season. In this past week, USC has received freshly inked national letters of intent from Courtney Batcheller, Sydney Blubaugh, Cara Borkovec, Emma Cornwell, Marina Coskinas, Brianna Daboub and Annika Jensen.
"This is a very good class," Vavic said of the seven Trojans-to-be. "It's a very talented group with lots of potential. I think we have some serious water polo players here -- girls who are most likely going to continue playing polo after college."
Sydney Blubaugh, Brianna Daboub and Annika Jensen have already experienced life as teammates as members of the United States' Youth Team that won gold at the 2013 UANA Youth Pan American Championships. In fact, Blubaugh and Daboub have even deeper familiarity as high school teammates at Mater Dei High School. Jensen, meanwhile, hails from up north as a product of Campolindo High School in Moraga, where she was named the East Bay Water Polo Player of the Year as a junior.
"Sydney's biggest quality is her strength," Vavic said of Blubaugh, who can excel as a two-meter defender. "She has strong legs and is also a strong outside shooter. She's somebody that offensive players will have a tough time pushing around. She and Brianna (Daboub) play on a very good high school program that develops players well. I think she'll help us immediately."
"Brianna is arguably the No. 1 recruit in this class," Vavic said of Daboub. "She's an all-aound smart player, very crafty. She's also a leader. She was captain of the Youth Team. She's very conscientious and organized and can be the backbone of our team. She is a great outside shooter, good driver and can post up."
"Annika is a girl that we really need because she can set and guard," Vavic said of Jensen. "She's a big girl and is one of those players that can be used in more than one way. She is athletic and has lots of potential."
Also hailing from Northern California along with Jensen is Courtney Batcheller, who has been a standout for St. Francis High School in Mountain View.
"Courtney is a left-handed driver who has a very good shoot but also is a very good passer with lots of speed," Vavic said of Batcheller ."We haven't had two lefties on our team in a long time, and she comes from a strong water polo background. In general, this class is very serious about water polo and Courtney is one of those students. She's like a water polo junkie; she wants to play and get better."
The Trojans will add a talented goalie in 2014-15 in the form of Emma Cornwell, who comes to Troy from Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista.
"Emma is going to come in and compete for playing time right away," Vavic said of Cornwell. "The opportunity is there for her to make her mark."
More Southern California talent comes in the form of Marina Coskinas, who most recently helped her Corona del Mar High School squad win its first CIF Southern Section Division I championship. 5-9
"Marina is a strong two-meter player," Vavic said of Coskinas. "She has very strong legs and upper body. She has a shot to play immediately at two meters. She's very driven to succeed."
Cara Borkovec began her water polo career in Illinois and was a Second Team All-American as a junior at Fenwick High in Oak Park, Ill., before moving to Southern California. She and her family have touched down in Laguna Beach, where Brokovec will spend her senior year.
"Cara is a good utility player," Vavic said of Borkovec. "She was one of the top players in Illinois and is really eager to learn. She's very aggressive and a tough girl who certainly has great potential."