Butler, Smith Highlight Six 49ers Named To Big West All-Conference Team
This team passed the 2011 team for most players honored to the All-Big West team.
LONG BEACH, Calif. -
Long Beach State women's water polo added six players to the Big West All-Conference Team, which surpasses the 2011 team (5) for the most in school history. This year's team also matched that group with two First Team selections.
Senior Alexis Butler and sophomore Virginia Smith led a list of six Long Beach State women's water polo players to be selected to the All-Big West teams, the conference announced on Wednesday. Butler and Smith took a spot on the First Team, and freshman Tori Morrissey earned a spot on the Second Team. Senior Jessica Brooks and sophomores Emily Garczynski and Alexandra Massier all earned Honorable Mention.
Smith is the first sophomore to be named to the First Team, and Morrissey is the first freshman to be named to the Second Team since joining the Big West Conference.
Butler had a breakout season in her final year at the Beach with career-highs in minutes played (686), goals allowed (152), and saves (161). The senior out of Stockton, Calif. had huge performances throughout the season. She had 26 saves in the first three conference matches of the season, allowing just 13 goals to lead LBSU to its best conference start since joining the Big West.
Her most notable performance was the 49ers' final regular season match against UC Santa Barbara that gave the Beach its first ever Big West Regular Season Championship on senior day. Butler had a career-high 17 saves in that game. After giving up five goals in the first half, Butler buckled down and allowed just one goal in the second half, which gave her team the opportunity to catch up and get the win.
Smith, the sophomore out of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, led the team in scoring with a career-high 45 goals in the season. She scored in 26 of LBSU's 29 matches, netting multiple goals in 13 of the 26 games. Smith found her stride in the middle of the season, going on a 10-game scoring streak. She finished the year leading the team once again with three goals in the Big West Tournament, including a pair in the double-overtime loss to UC Irvine. Smith ended the season as the eighth leading scorer in the Big West Conference.
Morrissey had an outstanding freshman year, rising as the second leading scorer on the team after scoring 40 goals in the season. One of three freshman to play all 29 games and scored one or more goals in all but five games in the season. Morrissey started the season with an 11-game scoring streak, scoring multiple goals in six of the games. She also finished the game with an eight-game scoring streak, scoring two goals in the Big West Tournament. The freshman from Maroubra, NSW ended the season as the 14th leading scorer in the conference.
Brooks nabbed her first All-Conference honors after leading the Beach to its first ever Big West regular season title, including its best conference start since joining the Big West. The senior out of Sydney, Australia was the team captain in her senior year and the sixth-leading scorer on the team with 19 goals in the season. Brooks was an important piece to the team, getting a touch on the ball in every possession to provide the best possible outcome for her team.
Garczynski had a stellar second year, especially on the offensive end. The sophomore from Palm Desert, Calif. tied as the fourth leading scorer on the team with 30 goals. After starting off the season slow, Garczynski quickly picked up the pace by scoring in 10 of LBSU' last 11 games. Of those 10 games, she scored multiple games in seven. The highlight of the season was her game-winning shot at the buzzer in the 49ers' final regular season game against UC Santa Barbara, which lifted her team 7-6 to claim the Big West regular season championship and the first seed in the tournament for the first time in program history. Garczynski finished the year with a seven-game scoring streak, scoring two goals in the Big West Tournament.
Massier was a big offensive player for the Beach, coming off as the third leading scorer on the team with 36 goals. The sophomore out of Regina, Saskatchewan was so consistent for LBSU, scoring in 20 of the 29 games. Massier added a pair of goals in the final game of the regular season against UCSB. She also scored the first goal against UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament.
This is the first All-Conference honor for all six athletes, which emphasizes a complete team effort from the Beach amidst another winning season for head coach Gavin Arroyo.
UC Irvine's Mary Brooks won Big West Player of the Year. Irene Gonzalez from Hawai'i won the Big West Freshman of the Year, and leading her team to the Big West Championship title in her second season with the Gauchos, UCSB's Serela Kay won Big West Coach of the Year.
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