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Caroline Israels on San Diego State earns Player of the Year honors.
Caroline Israels on San Diego State earns Player of the Year honors.
Women's Water Polo - Tue, Apr. 25, 2017

2017 GCC Postseason Awards
2017 GCC Championships

LOS ANGELES – The Golden Coast Conference announced the women's postseason honors for 2017 and San Diego State's Caroline Israels (SR/Pompano Beach, FL) is the GCC Player of the Year as voted on by the league's eight head coaches. Fresno Pacific's Amber Penney (FR/Cape Town, South Africa), the league leader in goals and points, is the GCC Newcomer of the Year.

The senior Israels guided the Aztecs to their fourth straight GCC regular season title, leading the team in goals with 64, assists with 41, overall points with 105 and in steals with 84. She ranks second in the GCC in goals, assists and points while leading the conference in steals. Penney, in her first season of collegiate water polo, leads the GCC with 81 goals and 108 total points.

Israels is also a first-team All-GCC for the third straight season, earning first-team honors in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Joining Israels as first-team All-Conference are Pacific freshman Kyra Christmas (FR/Calgary, Alberta, Canada), fellow Aztec senior Alyssa Diacono (SR/Ladera Ranch, CA), California Baptist senior Paizlee Dreyer (SR/Riverside, CA), Pacific freshman Mariana Duarte (FR/Sao Paulo, Brazil), CBU goalie senior Lina Medeiros (SR/Lake Elsinore, CA) and LMU sophomore Hana Vilanova (SO/Barcelona, Spain).

Diacono is a second-time first-team selection, earning the honor in 2015-16. Vilanova was an honorable mention selection as a freshman a year ago. The rest of the first-team are all newcomers to the postseason honors list.

Leading the was earning second-team All-GCC is the freshman Penney. Joining her are sophomore Mar Pastor Alvarez (SO/Barcelona, Spain) (Azusa Pacific), sophomore Hannah Buck (SO/Lafayette, CA) (Santa Clara), junior Rachel Krieger (JR/Regina, Sask., Canada) (Pacific), junior goalie Kate McDonnell (JR/Tualatin, OR) (San Diego St.), sophomore Lizette Perez (SO/Commerce, CA) (California Baptist) and senior Caitlin Schafer (SR/Hollister, CA) (LMU).

The All-GCC honors are rounded out with honorable mention selections senior Ioli Benekou (SR/Marousi, Greece) (San Diego St.), senior Cathy Cantoni (SR/San Jose, CA) (Santa Clara), sophomore goalie Sky Flores (SO/Commerce, CA) (LMU), junior Karolina Hlavata (JR/Strakonics, Czech Rep.) (Pacific), senior Valerie Spezzaferri (SR/Lake Forest, CA) (California Baptist), and senior Emily Varisco (SR/Houston, TX) (Concordia).

The postseason honors are completed with a seven-individual All-Freshman team highlighted by Christmas, Duarte and Penney. Rounding out the All-Freshman team are Lydia Dadd (FR/Fremont, CA) (Santa Clara), Shelby Kraft (San Diego St.), Maggie Oys (FR/Davis, CA) (Santa Clara) and Mireia Tutusaus Alcaraz (FR/Terrassa, Catalonia) (Azusa Pacific).

The 2017 GCC Women's Championships begin on Friday with three first-round games at Santa Clara's Sullivan Aquatic Center. Action begins as No. 3 seed LMU takes on No. 6 CBU at 10:30 a.m. The second game features No. 2 Pacific taking on No. 7 Fresno Pacific at 12 noon, followed by game three featuring No. 4 Azusa Pacific taking on host and No. 5 seed Santa Clara at 1:30 p.m. The top-seeded Aztecs have a bye into the second semifinal, which will be Saturday at 1:30 p.m.  The first semifinal will be at 12 noon. The championship will be held Sunday, April 30 at 1:30 p.m.

Follow the championships at Tournament Central at GCCWaterPolo.com.