SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – On the heels of an historic season which saw the UC Santa Barbara women's water polo team reach its highest win total in decades, five Gaucho student-athletes have been named to the various 2019 Big West All-Conference Teams, the league office announced Tuesday afternoon.
Senior Kate Pipkin becomes the first Gaucho to earn All-Big West First Team honors since 2016. She is joined by Second Team selections Sarah Kreiser, Sarah Snyder and Kenzi Snyder, and All-Freshman Caitlyn Snyder.
Pipkin ended the year as UCSB's leader in points, ending up with 76. That total consisted of 45 goals and 31 assists, both good for second-most on the team. The Costa Mesa, Calif. native and superbly talented utility ended the year on a 10-match goal scoring streak, scoring 20 times over that span. Her .381 shooting percentage, 19 drawn exclusions and 21 steals all ranked among the UCSB top-5. She earns her third consecutive All-Conference nod, having previously been named to the Second Team (2018) and as an Honorable Mention (2017).
Attacker Sarah Kreiser – who served as one of three senior co-captains this year alongside Pipkin – makes the Second Team for the second straight year. Kreiser ended her year on a high note, leading the Gauchos with three goals in their 7-5 win over No. 3 seed UC Davis in the Big West Tournament Third Place Match on Sunday. It was her fourth hat trick since Mar. 25, and her fifth of the season, bringing her goal total to 35 for the year. She also tallied the third-most assists on the team with 26 and tied sophomore Mollie Simmons for the most steals with 34.
Finishing as UCSB's leading scorer for the second straight year, junior utility Sarah Snyder takes home her second consecutive All-Conference accolade, this time moving up to the Second Team. Her 66 goals were third-most in the conference, making her the first Gaucho to cross the 60-goal mark in the last six years. Her year began in fantastic fashion, as she led Santa Barbara to one of its hottest starts ever with 14 goals and nine drawn exclusions at the UCSB Winter Invite en route to a season-opening Big West Player of the Week award. She would go on to end the year with 21 multi-goal outings, 11 hat tricks, and seven four-goal efforts, and was also the Gauchos' leader in shooting percentage (.584) and drawn exclusions (31).
UCSB likely would not have reached its 22-win total – two more than it has seen in any campaign since at least 1996 – without any of these players, but many times, the wins and losses came down to the clutch play and spectacular saves of junior goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder. The Santa Ana, Calif. native receives her first All-Big West honor after ranking third in the conference with a career-high 187 saves, despite sharing nearly one-third of the minutes in goal with sophomore Becca Buck. Kenzi was the only Gaucho to win multiple Big West Player of the Week awards this season, including when she posted 13 saves in an upset win over UC Irvine on Mar. 9 and helped hold Long Beach State to just three goals in a low-scoring season finale win on Apr. 20. She saved some of her best performances for the end though, as she racked up 42 saves (14 Sv/g) over three outings at the Big West Tournament, including a season-high 16 in a First Round win over LBSU.
Rounding out the Gaucho award recipients is All-Freshman Teamer Caitlyn Snyder, who enjoyed a huge increase in production down the stretch of the season. Playing alongside her older sister Sarah, Caitlyn went on to lead the team with 33 assists, tied for third in the conference. She closed the regular season with seven multi-goal efforts in 10 appearances, a stretch which also saw her put up a whopping 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) over a magnificent four-game span. Her 63 points on the year were third-most on the team. With 30 goals and 33 assists, she joined Pipkin as the only Gauchos to put up at least 30 in both categories.
This marks the second consecutive season that a program record five Gauchos have earned All-Conference honors. UCSB also tied UC Irvine with four members split amongst the All-Big West First and Second Teams, more than any of the other teams in the conference.