Sophomore Claire Pierce is the first Pioneer to earn back-to-back ACWPC first-team All-America honors.
For the second consecutive year, water polo player Claire Pierce has been named an Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) first-team All-American. The honor capped Pierce’s second season as a Pioneer ranked among the nation’s leaders in scoring while guiding the team to the best finish in program history at Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) championships.
The Perth, Australia native skipped the sophomore slump in 2011, instead leading the team in scoring for the second straight season. Pierce finished the season ranked fifth in the nation with 87 goals, while adding 78 steals to lead the WWPA and rank eighth in the nation. She again led team in ejections drawn with 104, more than twice as many as the next highest total on the squad.
In leading the team to a program-best fourth-place showing at the WWPA Championship, Pierce scored seven goals in three games, helping East Bay pick up an upset win over Colorado State in the first round. Pierce scored four goals in the victory over the Rams, getting redemption for both the late season loss and a defeat in the first round of the 2010 WWPA Tournament to CSU.
In just two seasons with Cal State East Bay, Pierce has already made her presence felt in the record books, posting 170 career goals to move into second on the all-time list. She also ranks fourth all-time with 151 career steals. In addition to collecting WWPA first-team All-Tournament Team recognition, Pierce capped the season with her first selection to the All-WWPA First Team.
In the classroom, Pierce was equally as impressive, earning a 3.86 grade point average in her first two years and garnering Capitol One Academic All-Region and WWPA All-Academic honors. Pierce is the first Pioneer water polo player to earn the prestigious honor and is the only student-athlete from the WWPA to be named to the Academic All-Region team.
The entirety of the ACWPC Division II All-America team was comprised of players from the WWPA. UC San Diego’s Hanalei Crowell and Cal State Monterey Bay’s Nikki Smart shared ACWPC Player of the Year honors, while the Tritons’ Brad Kreutzkamp was named Division II Coach of the Year after guiding UCSD to the WWPA Championship and the NCAA Tournament.
With the award, the Pioneers have now had at least one ACWPC All-American in each of the last nine years. Pierce is also the seventh Cal State East Bay player to earn first-team All-America honors.