Men's Water Polo: Ward And Rodriguez Highlight ACWPC All-American Awards

Men's Water Polo: Ward And Rodriguez Highlight ACWPC All-American Awards

The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Water Polo team dominated the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) All-American Teams highlighted by Player of the Year in senior Adam Ward and National Coach of the Year Alex Rodriguez.

The Sagehens had six athletes named All-American with First Team All-Americans Ward, junior James Kelbert and freshman Sam Sasaki, two Second Team All-Americans in sophomore Dylan Elliott and junior Joseph Schafer and junior Jacob Niskey took home All-American Honorable Mention honors.

Rodriguez earned his third Division III Coach of the Year award after he earned the honor in 2016 and 2011. He now ties Ted Bresnahan of Johns Hopkins and Denny Harper of UC San Diego for the all-time lead with three. Rodriguez led the Sagehens to their third-straight Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Regular Season Championship and also their third consecutive SCIAC Tournament Championship with a 24-9 overall record and ran the gauntlet in the SCIAC with a perfect 14-0 record.

Ward becomes the fourth player in Sagehen history to earn Player of the Year honors along with Daniel Diemer (2017), James Baker (2016) and Jason Cox (2012). This also moves Pomona-Pitzer into a tie with Johns Hopkins for most Division III Player of the Year recipients since the honor was first presented in 1996. Ward also earned SCIAC Player of the Year honors as he posted a team-high 62 goals and six assists.

Kelbert and Sasaki also earned First Team All-American honors. Kelbert led the Sagehens in goal this season with 248 saves and a .507 save percentage. Sasaki led the Sagehens in points with 98 as he also led the team in assists with 45 and also tacked on 53 goals during his first collegiate season.

Schafer took home Second Team All-American honors for the second consecutive season. Schafer tallied 55 points off of 44 goals and 11 assists while Elliott took home All-American honors for the first time in his collegiate career with 61 points off of 49 goals and 12 assists.

Niksey earned back-to-back All-American honors as he was named a Second Team All-American in 2017 and now earned Honorable Mention in 2018. Niskey totaled 46 points with 38 goals and eight assists.

"Winning "Coach of the Year" for Division III is the ultimate team award," said Rodriguez.  "I have been blessed to have great athletes, a hard working coaching staff that is passionate for the sport and an administration that allows us to coach.  I want to congratulate all of our All-Americans, especially "Player of the Year" Adam Ward for his leadership, work ethic and elevating the program to new heights."

The ACWPC All-America teams are selected based on nominations and voting by the head coach of each program in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division (Division I, II, III).  Since 2005, the mission of the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) is to promote the development and advancement of collegiate water polo. This shall be accomplished by providing its membership with professional education, services, training and a united voice.