Ali Thomason Named College Water Polo Player of the Year

water-polo-ball
Photo Courtesy: Sean Fornelli

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The CWPA announced on Thursday (April 28) its 2016 all-conference team with five Michigan players earning recognition, including senior Ali Thomason as Player of the Year and freshman Kim Johnson as Rookie of the Year.

Thomason, a native of San Rafael, Calif., became the ninth CWPA MVP in Michigan history, joining former Western Division Players of the Year Betsey Armstrong (2003-04), Shana Welch (2005-07), Julie Hyrne (2008-09), Leah Robertson (2010) and Kiki Golden (2012).

For the second straight year Thomason earned a spot on the all-conference first team. She leads the team with 82 goals, 101 points and 50 steals. She has also won over 90 percent of her sprints on the season. She had 16 games with a hat trick or better and scored 21 goals in conference play.

Johnson is the fourth Wolverine to garner Rookie of the Year honors and third in the past four seasons. She joins her teammate Allison Skaggs (2014), Bryce Beckwith (2013) and Shana Welch (2004) as top newcomers in the league.

The Walnut Creek, Calif. native is the third U-M player with 50 or more goals in their freshman season. She is one goal away from tying Welch’s freshman goals record of 55. She was CWPA Rookie of the Week a school-record five times. Johnson was a second team all-conference choice.

Joining Johnson on the CWPA second team are senior Julia Campbell, junior Allison Skaggs and sophomore Caroline Anderson.

Campbell has a school-record 25 wins in goal for the Wolverines. She is one of five players in school history with 400 or more saves, ranking fourth with 436. She started 31 of the 32 games in 2016, leading Michigan to 21 victories over ranked opponents, seven more than any other team in program history. She was the CWPA Defensive Player of the Week three times. She was an honorable mention all-conference pick last year.

Skaggs makes the second team for the third straight season. A consistent force at the center position, Skaggs has 12 multi-goal games and is second on the team with 32 drawn exclusions.

Anderson follows up an honorable mention nod her freshman year with a spot on the second team. She is second on the team with 99 points and has broke her own single-season school assists record with 61. She is also second on the team with 46 steals.

The five all-conference selections are the most since 2010 when Michigan also had five. It is the seventh time in 16 yearsthat U-M has placed five or more on the all-conference team, but first time since the league combined to do just one team instead of by division.

2016 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division I/II All-Conference Team

Player of the Year: Ali Thomason (Michigan)
Coach of the Year: John McBride (Bucknell)
Rookie of the Year: Kim Johnson (Michigan)

First Team
Cleo Harrington – Goalie (Harvard)
Yoshi Andersen (Harvard)
Kelly Matthews (Indiana)
Candyce Schroeder (Indiana)
Hannah Sunday (Bucknell)
Zsofia Polak (Hartwick)
Ali Thomason (Michigan)

Second Team
Julia Campbell – Goalie (Michigan)
Caroline Anderson (Michigan)
Kim Johnson (Michigan)
Allison Skaggs (Michigan)
Pippa Temple (Princeton)
Haley Wan (Princeton)
Melissa Balding (Harvard)

University of Michigan Athletic Department contributed this report.