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Three water polo players earn all-conference honors


Junior Claire Pierce earned her third straight All-WWPA honors, making back-to-back appearances on the All-WWPA First Team.

  • April 25, 2012

For the third straight year the Cal State East Bay water polo team had three players selected to the All-Women's Water Polo teams announced April 24.

Claire Pierce led the trio, garnering All-WWPA First Team honors, while both Erica Crain and Jayme Pekarske earned All-WWPA Honorable Mention accolades. The honors mark the fifth consecutive time East Bay has placed at least one player on the all-conference teams.

Complete All-WWPA Release

For Pierce, it is the second consecutive first team recognition and her third straight year on the All-WWPA teams after garnering All-Freshman Team honors in 2010. The Perth, Australia, native became the Pioneers’ all-time leading scorer this season, scoring 83 goals during the regular season to bring her career total to 260, surpassing Liz Warren’s previous record of 241 set in 2011. Pierce is also third on the team with 40 steals which moves her into third place on the all-time top 10 in that category with 191 career steals.

This season marked the third straight campaign in which Pierce has also led the team in ejections drawn, posting 30 more than the next highest total on the team with 88. The junior adds her third straight All-WWPA honors to a growing list of accolades, including a Capitol One Academic All-District First Team selection in 2011 and back-to-back ACWPC First Team All-America nods. Pierce ranks among the top goal scorers in all of Division II and added a pair of WWPA Player of the Week honors this season to bring her career total to three.

The Honorable Mention selection is the second straight for Pekarske, who has started every game in goal for the Pioneers this season. The senior’s 279 saves lead the WWPA and all of Division II, while her .574 save percentage ranks fifth in Division II. A Riverside native, Pekarske held opponents to eight or fewer goals 14 times this season, including five games in which the opposition scored five goals or less. Pekarske set a new career high with 23 saves in a sudden-death victory over Brown in March and was also named WWPA Player of the Week on Mar. 8.

Crain earned her first postseason honors after finishing the regular season second on the team in goals with 54 and leading the Pioneers with 44 assists on the year. Crain is also pacing the team with 60 steals, ranking among the top 10 in Division II in that category.

The trio has helped guide the Pioneers to the No. 4 seed in the 2012 WWPA Tournament, set to begin this Friday. Pierce, Crain and Pekarske have also been the catalysts in East Bay’s six victories over Division I opponents and 10 wins against conference foes this season.

Loyola Marymount senior driver Casey Flacks collected WWPA Player of the Year honors, while Sonoma State goalie Ariel Lockshaw and Santa Clara utility Ashleigh Bandimere shared the Newcomer of the Year award. The Lions led all teams with seven players on the All-WWPA and All-Freshman teams, with Flacks joining Pierce as the only two returning first team honorees. 

Cal State East Bay will open the 2012 WWPA Championships on April 27 against fifth-seeded Santa Clara. The Pioneers and Broncos will get underway at 1:30 p.m. at the Canyonview Aquatics Center on the UC San Diego campus in La Jolla. Complete tournament coverage will be available here.

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