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Water Polo

Who to Watch List: Girls Water Polo Teams Loaded With Talent

Four players on Team USA for World Youth Championships in New Zealand

Junior Ryann Neushul is a powerful player for Dos Pueblos. Click to view larger
Junior Ryann Neushul is a powerful player for Dos Pueblos. (Noozhawk file photo)

From the senior class on down to the 9th graders, the quality of talent in local high school girls water polo is off the charts.

San Marcos, Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara High each have players competing on USA Water Polo national teams and committed to Division 1 college programs. Four players — three from DP and one from San Marcos — are going to miss about two weeks of the season in December because they’ll be playing for Team USA at the FINA World Youth Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.

Paige Hauschild of San Marcos is a force at both ends of the pool. Hauschild signed with USC. Click to view larger
Paige Hauschild of San Marcos is a force at both ends of the pool. Hauschild signed with USC. (Noozhawk file photo)

That gives you an idea of the richness of talent in the area.

The skill level on all the teams should make for scintillating crosstown games this winter.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see the three advance to the CIF Division 1 final four.

Here is a look at the players to watch in girls water polo.

Seniors Paige Hauschild and Brittnay Prentice lead the way for San Marcos. Both have signed with major collegiate programs, Hauschild with USC and Prentice with Michigan.

Hauschild is one of the four local players on the USA Youth National Team. She’ll be making her second trip to New Zealand. Two years ago she was invited to play on the USA Senior National Team at the Intercontinental Cup in Auckland. A two-time, water polo and swimming All-American, Hauschild is San Marcos’ all-time leading scorer.

“She’s a game changer,” said coach Chuckie Roth.

Prentice also is a two-sport All-American and All-CIF performer. “She is a huge part of every aquatic achievement (at San Marcos) over the last four years,” said Roth. “She is a student of the game and finds ways to make big plays.”

Sophie Trumbull returns as the starting goalie for San Marcos. Click to view larger
Sophie Trumbull returns as the starting goalie for San Marcos. (Noozhawk file photo)

The Royals also return All-CIF players Piper Smith and goalie Sophie Trumbull. Smith, a member of the USA Cadet team, plays the 2-meters position at both ends of the pool. Trumbull’s stellar play in the cage keeps the Royals in every game.

Roth is excited about two newcomers, freshmen Cassidy Miller and Ella Prentice. They're both in the USA Water Polo Development Program.

At Santa Barbara, coach Mark Walsh has a multi-talented standout in senior captain Kai McGeoy.

Princeton-bound Kai McGeoy of Santa Barbara High can play any position. Click to view larger
Princeton-bound Kai McGeoy of Santa Barbara High can play any position.

“She’s a 6-foot-1 player that can play any position and she’s the fastest girl on the team,” said Walsh.

McGeoy has committed to Princeton.

The Dons have a pair of standout juniors who have started on the varsity since they were freshmen. Grace Raisin, a member of the Team USA Cadet team, plays the center position on offense and defense. Georgia Ranson is a center defender and a lethal shooter on offense.

Dos Pueblos has an abundantly talented group of returning starters that include UC Irvine signee Toni Shackelford, juniors Ryann Neushul, Thea Neushul and Olivia Kistler and sophomore Abbi Hill. Ryann and Thea are cousins.

For all five players, water polo is part of their family history. Their sisters and a cousin played on CIF championships teams at DP. Additionally, the eldest sisters of Abbi Hill and Ryann Neushul — Sami Hill and Kiley Neushul — played on the gold medal-winning USA Women’s Water Polo Team at the Olympic Games in Brazil.

Sophomore Sophie Leggett and freshmen Jewel Roemer and Anna Cable add more firepower to a potent lineup for first-year coach Connor Levoff. Leggett transferred from Laguna Beach, where she scored 75 goals and had 32 steals as a freshman. Roemer and Cable, a goalie, have starred on several national and state championship teams for the Santa Barbara 805 Club.

Roemer, Hill and Ryann Neushul are joining Hauschild on the USA Team at the Youth (U19) World Championships.

Fortunately, they'll be back in time for the rivalry games.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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