Going Beneath The Surface: DI Men’s Water Polo All-American Honorable Mentions

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Swimming World Honorable Mention goes to the D'Sa family—for a great sense of humor. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

By Michael Randazzo, Swimming World Contributor

At the top of the list of Division I All-Americans released yesterday by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) are the usual programs, identified by the media as the “Big Four:” Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC. Those top polo programs contain the most talented, and therefore most recognizable, players.

[Stanford’s Hallock Selected 2018 ACWPC Player of the Year; USC’s Vavic Named 2018 Coach of the Year]

But if one goes beneath the surface—to the Honorable Mention category—are a collection of athletes who are fully deserving of the recognition that the ACWPC bestows.

The biggest (by size) Honorable Mention may be Travis Bouscaren. The 6-8 senior defender from Brown represents a rare breed; a New Englander, he is one of the few East Coast player to collect ACWPC honors. Bouscaren’s performance this year speaks for itself; he led the Bears in goals (56) while compiling 20 assists, 29 steals and drawing 32 ejections.

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George Washington’s Atakan Destici. Photo Courtesy: George Washington Athletics Communications

There’s Atakan Destici of George Washington, who delivered the biggest goal of the year in Eastern play; a six-meter strike with two seconds remaining in regulation that allowed the Colonials to tie Bucknell in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference Championship, a match that GW would go on to win 12-11 in overtime. But the junior from Istanbul, Turkey, was not merely a one-shot wonder; he led the Colonials with 85 goals and 72 for an impressive total of 157 points.

Another clutch performer was USC’s Sam Slobodien. The red-shirt junior from Irvine—perhaps not as heralded as his All-American teammates Hannes Daube, Jacob Mercep, Nic Porter and Marko Vavic—hit perhaps the biggest shot for the Trojans in 2018 when he beat UCLA goalie Alex Wolf with five seconds remaining in an NCAA semifinal, propelling USC to the national championship final. For 2018, Slobodien scored 36 times, but none bigger than the one that broke the hearts of the Bruin faithful.

December 1, 2018; , Palo Alto, CA, USA; Collegiate Men's Water Polo:NCAA Semi Finals: USC vs UCLA; USC 2 Meter Sam Slobodien after scoring the game winning goal Photo credit: Catharyn Hayne

Sam Slobodien (#2) after hitting the game-winner vs. UCLA. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

California Baptist University did not make NCAAs in 2018; in fact, in two decades of NCAA varsity play, CBU has never advanced past their conference tournament. But the trend for the Lancers are good, thanks to the performance of Dominick Nevarez—77 goals, 46 assists and 37 steals—who led CBU to 22-12 record and a final national ranking of 16; earlier this year the Lancers reached a program high of 12.

An unheralded star for Iona College in 2018 was Patrick Hudak. The sophomore from Cincinnati led the Gaels in goals (65) while drawing a noteworthy 77 exclusions, by far the most on the team.

Long Beach State’s Garrett Zaan (25 goals) went from being a top performer for the U.S. Cadets in international play to an essential performer down the stretch as the 49ers reeled off seven straight wins to capture an NCAA berth; the freshman was joined on the Honorable Mention list by senior teammates Austin Stevenson (16 goals) and Keegan Wicken (24 goals).

Logan Schofield of Bucknell is perhaps overshadowed by Rade Joksinovic, named Second Team All-American in 2018, the highest recognition in program history since Scott Schulte got back-to-back 2nd Team nods in 1979 and 1980, but the junior from Maumee, OH was a stellar Bison in 2018, drawing an astonishing 135 ejections—half of Bucknell’s season total—while contributing 46 goals.

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Jasmine Kolasinac. Photo Courtesy: Wagner Athletics

Coming to Staten Island by way of New Zealand, Jasmin Kolasinac has been at Wagner for two years and has been a pace-setter for the young Seahawk program. Following up a freshman campaign that saw the Serbian native register program highs in goals 89 and steals (83), in 2018 he did even better, scoring 114 goals while drawing 110 exclusions.

There’s so many other great players in the Honorable Mentions category, cherry-picking a handful does not do justice to their contributions. But Swimming World would be remiss if we didn’t mention perhaps the most notable Honorable Mention; Trojan senior Zach D’Sa, he of the fanciful “Stache” craze that propelled (?) his teammates to a national championship.

Thanks Zach for bringing fun to a tough sport!

December 1, 2018; , Palo Alto, CA, USA; Collegiate Men's Water Polo:NCAA Semi Finals: USC vs UCLA; USC Driver Zach D'Sa scores Photo credit: Catharyn Hayne

Zach D’Sa showing some Trojan love. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

2018 APCWA All-American Honorable Mention

Marwan Darwich (Goalie), Long Beach State University
Yahav Fire (Goalie), San Jose State University
Bernardo Carelli (Goalie), University of California
Tiago Bonchristiano (Goalie), University of California, Santa Barbara
Danny Roland (Goalie), University of California, Los Angeles
Travis Bouscaren, Brown University
Armen Deirmenjian, Brown University
Atakan Destici, George Washington University
Andrew Mavis, George Washington University
Austin Sechrest, Harvard University
Dennis Bylashov, Harvard University
Garrett Zaan, Long Beach State University
Austin Stevenson, Long Beach State University
Keegan Wicken, Long Beach State University
Ashworth Molthen, University of California, Los Angeles
Quinten Osborne, University of California, Los Angeles
David Stiling, University of California, Los Angeles
Sam Slobodien, University of Southern California
Marin Dasic, University of Southern California
Sawyer Rhodes, University of Southern California
Jake Ehrhardt, University of Southern California
Logan Schofield, Bucknell University
Dominick Nevarez, California Baptist University
Jake Miller-Tolt, Fordham University
Patrick Hudak, Iona College
Blazo Mitrovic, Loyola Marymount University
Chris Dilworth, Pepperdine University
Matt Payne, Princeton University
Tyler Abramson, Stanford University
Odysseas Masmanidis, University of California
Jack Trush, University of California, Irvine
Ivan Gvozdanovic, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jasmin Kolasinac, Wagner College