Men's Water Polo Season Preview
Men’s Water Polo Lands Ten Players on All-Conference Teams
Cougars Boast a Trio of All State Picks
SAN LUIS OBISPO (December 13, 2018)— Men’s water polo finished 2nd in the Western State Conference and reached the CCCAA Playoffs for the 40th consecutive season, despite playing all their games on the road and being forced to find practice time at both Arroyo Grande and Morro Bay High Schools. The Cougars, who have never missed the post-season, advanced to the second round of the playoffs and ended the campaign 22-10 overall to cap off their 40th straight winning season. Cuesta’s continued excellence was recognized as the post-season awards were doled out. Cuesta had ten players named to the all-Western State Conference (WSC) teams, including a trio of poloists named to the All-State squads.
Freshman Gabriel Browning (Los Alamitos) was Cougars’ lone All American selection this season and was also named to the All-State and All Western State Conference First Teams. He scored 39 goals on the season, including 24 in the Cougars 17 games against playoff teams. Browning excels everywhere in the pool and his offense complemented his tough defense. He was second on the team with 28 steals.
Freshman Brandon Green (Visalia) anchored the Cougars’ offense and was named to the all-State Second Team and to the all-WSC First Team. Green led the Cougars with 60 goals on the season and was the team’s Center on offense. He also drew a team-high 46 exclusions, which led to Cuesta power-plays and more easy goals on offense.
Redshirt Freshman Mason Smith (Bakersfield) spent last year practicing behind All American and current UC Irvine Goaltender Chandler Mankins, but Smith made his mark when he began his eligibility this Fall and took over between the pipes. He was named to the all-State Second Team and to the all-WSC First Team. Smith started 30 of the Cougars’ 32 games and led the team with 198 saves, while posting an 18-9 mark in the cage.
Sophomore Mark Solorio (Fresno) returned from his Redshirt season to become a veteran presence as the team’s lone veteran and earned an all-WSC First Team selection. Solorio’s defense was astounding and he lead the Cougars with 34 steals on the season. On offense, he added a dozen goals and 13 assists.
The Cougars placed Freshmen Steven Chapman (Porterville HS) and Cooper Greene (Murray, UT) on the 2018 All-Western State Conference Second Team. Chapman was a strong presence inside for the Cougars and was second on the team 19 assists and 28 exclusions drawn, while also scoring 46 goals. Greene was the Cougars’ master playmaker from the leftside and led the team with 25 assists, while adding 17 goals and 28 steals.
Freshmen Zachary Tucker (Paso Robles HS), Ryan Sverchek (Arroyo Grande HS), Clayton Sawyer (Morgan Hill), and Satoshi Shinkawa (Kingsburg HS) were all recognized as 2018 All-WSC Honorable Mention selections. Tucker was instant offense off the bench and his 50 goals on the season were the team’s second highest total. Sverchek worked through an off-season injury and played sparingly in September, but turned it on down the stretch. He ended the season with 16 goals and 22 steals. Sawyer spent the season in the starting line-up and scored 19 goals Cougars, while also adding 21 steals on defense. Shinkawa was the only member of the team to start every game this season. His solid everyday play was a key to the Cougars’ success. He also added 11 goals, 15 assists and, 19 steals in 32 games.
All American Gabriel Browning
2018 All State
First Team Gabriel Browning
Second Team Brandon Green
Second Team Mason Smith
2018 All-WSC Honors
First Team Gabriel Browning
First Team Brandon Green
First Team Mason Smith
First Team Mark Solorio
Second Team Steven Chapman
Second Team Cooper Greene
Honorable Mention Clayton Sawyer
Honorable Mention Satoshi Shinkawa
Honorable Mention Ryan Sverchek
Honorable Mention Zachary Tucker