Dec. 6, 2012
Nov. 23, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - The LMU women's water polo incoming class for 2013-14 has grown to four as Head Coach Kyle Witt announced another high school standout has signed to join the Lions program in 2013-14.
Caitlin Shafer (San Benito HS) became the fourth member of the Lions class to sign a National Letter of Intent, joining Kiana Etrata (Villa Park HS), Elanor Lee (Foothill HS) and Mikayla Vessey (Redlands East Valley HS). They will join the Lions in the Fall of 2013.
"Our goal for this recruiting class was to bring in players that would have an immediate impact in our program," said Witt. "All three have the potential to do that. They continue our success in the classroom as they all come in with very high GPAs and all three are also on highly competitive high school and club water polo teams that play in big tournaments. They are expected to perform in those championship environments and that will really help them as they move into college water polo."
The fourth member of the incoming class, Shafer, is a three-time all-conference selection and has been named USA Water Polo Academic All-American as a sophomore and junior. She also plays for the San Jose Water Polo Club.
"Caitlin caught our eye because she was constantly in the middle of the action, played in countless matches during the summer session, and was relentless with her offensive aggression," said Witt. "She can create opportunities for both herself and her teammates and we are excited to introduce her to a style of play that best suits her talents."
Etrata is a 5-4 driver and two-meter defender and will join the Lions from Villa Park High School while also playing for the SET Water Polo Club. Lee is a 5-6 driver and two-meter defender that plays for Foothill High School and the SoCal Water Polo Club. Vessey is a 5-2 driver from Redlands East Valley HS and the Xtreme Water Polo Club.
"We only graduate two student-athletes at the completion of the 2013 season; but they are big losses for us. Jessica Morelos and Morgan Bonk are both two-year starters and four-year letterwinners for our program and have a wealth of championship experience," said Witt. "Thus, we will ask a lot of this incoming trio of players to help fill those losses."
Etrata is a two-time first-team All-League selection that was named All-CIF this past season.
"Kiana has a ton of big game and championship experience. She played in two age divisions last summer and both of her teams thrived with Kiana playing several different roles," said Witt. "Kiana's strengths are her high water polo IQ, her competitive drive and her work ethic. Kiana will have a great career at LMU and we are excited to have her in our program."
While playing for Foothill, Lee was named third-team All-CIF as a sophomore and also brings a wealth of championship experience in the pool.
"Eleanor plays for one of the best high school programs in the country and will be a three year starter for head coach Jeff Colton," said Witt. "She also plays with SoCal WPC under Andrew Rowe that is constantly in the semi-finals and finals of all the major USAWP tournaments. Eleanor is an incredibly smart defender that has been able to limit some of the top offensive players at their positions due to her fundamental skill level and her desire to outwork people in the pool. Eleanor is used to being a productive member of highly competitive teams and we feel as though she could make a big impact during her first year as a Lion."
Vessey has been familiar to All-CIF honors, earning them all three of her previous seasons at Redlands East. She also has been a three-time first-team All-League selection, earning MVP honors a year ago as a junior.
"Mikayla is quietly one of the better players in the region," said Witt. "She has scored over 350 goals through 3 years of competition but scoring isn't even her strength. Her strength is her relentless attacking style that produces countless steals and kick outs for her teams. We have a rich tradition with talented attackers and Mikayla has all the qualities that make for a successful college attacker."
The Lions will begin their season in mid-January with the LMU Opening Weekend Tournament on Jan. 19.
- GO LIONS -