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Season Preview: 2012 Villanova Water Polo
Head Coach Damon Newman

Feb. 3, 2012

VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats women's water polo team enters the 2012 season having graduated three seniors from a group that finished sixth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings with a record of 1-24 overall, 0-10 in conference action.

Villanova has lost two strong senior competitors that contributed in a variety ways, Nicole Lum and Kathleen Maloney; both led the team in 2011.

Last year, Lum was the leading point getter for the squad, culminating a total of 56 points, including 30 goals and 26 assists. Maloney was credited for 54 points, in 2011, with 27 goals and 27 assists. The Chicago, Illinois native fired 133 shots on net, the only player on the team to eclipse the 100 mark for the season. Following behind, Lum launched 96 shots to the target.

This dynamic duo contributed 40 percent of overall point production last season. Out of the 271 points amassed, these two were responsible for 110 of them. The continuance of this production relies heavily on the combination of several returnees for the upcoming season.

Junior Julia Penkal is the leading returner in goals scored (24), points (34) and field blocks (4). Penkal will be looked upon to provide numbers on the offensive side of the ball, to compliment her consistency on the defensive end, as 30 steals were booked to her name in 2011.

Hannah Ishida and Emily Ryan, junior teammates, are also set to have key roles after logging extended minutes in their sophomore campaigns and producing at a stronger level. Ishida returns as the leader in assists from last season with 16 to her credit as well as ejections drawn (31). The product from Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii ranks second in points after the 30 registered a year ago. Ryan enters the season from a 17 goal and six assist performance in 2011. Pinning 23 points to her favor places her third in that regard.

As for the defensive side of play, junior driver Katie Hannigan will hope to match her total of 33 steals that were tallied last season. This strong effort placed the defensive juggernaut second on the team at the end of the year, only behind former senior Nicole Lum. Another junior defensive performer, Lauren Peachey, posted 18 steals, which ranks fourth on the team coming into this season. Peachey had 12 ejections drawn as well.

Newcomer Maddi Moore, sophomore transfer from Arizona State University, is in net to start the season. Moore became the first athlete in the history of Episcopal Academy water polo program to sign a National Letter of Intent with nationally ranked ASU. Also serving as a sophomore addition to the group is Bryn Garrity, a utility from Madison, Connecticut.

Two juniors are set to become contributing factors and serve as key components in the mix for the upcoming season. Maria Campanile and Kristy Majetich played in a limited amount of games last year, but performed well during those outings. Each seeks for more time in the weeks to come in 2012.

In comparison from this season to last, there will be three seniors heading this season's bunch as well. These upperclassmen include Cara Clites, Elizabeth Clarke and Sarah Armel. Representing the team in premier fashion, Clites and Armel were named to the 2011 MAAC All-Academic Team. Clarke, an outstanding role model herself, joined the water polo team midway through the season after a successful season with women's swimming and diving.

Four freshmen have been assembled to contribute to the team effort this season, including Sammy Salvo, Callan Edwards, Elaine Resso and Sadie Dutcher. Three of the four originated from California and have had numerous successes with the water polo team at their former schools. Salvo hails from Connecticut and had lettered all four years at New Canaan High School.

Damon Newman enters his seventh season as the Wildcats coach. Franco Pacheco joins Newman as his assistant coach for the water polo program. Pacheco is also the assistant coach for the men's swimming team at Villanova and specializes in the distance freestyle events while contributing to the team's dry land workouts.

The Wildcats will begin the 2012 season in New Rochelle, N.Y., as they face Iona, Harvard and New York Athletic Club (NYAC) on Saturday, February 4th. Start time against Iona (11:45 a.m.), Harvard (2:45 p.m.) and NYAC (5:15 p.m.).