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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Mater Dei water polo players, from left, Marylynn Cuozzo, Nolan Strout, Will Lapkin and Thomas Dunstan helped cap the Monarchs' strong seasons by participating in spring signing day Wednesday.

Signing Day Extra: Mater Dei water polo sends large group to next level

STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA Mater Dei’s boys water polo program put the final touches Wednesday on another large batch of collegiate-bound players.

Seniors Thomas Dunstan, Will Lapkin and Nolan Strout participated in the school’s spring signing day ceremony, emerging as the latest products from the Monarchs’ assembly line to men’s college water polo.

Eight seniors from Mater Dei’s CIF-SS Division 1 championship team in the fall are headed to four-year schools. Six of the players were starters and two were reserves.

“We had a lot of guys this year … which is good,” said Dunstan, who signed with USC shortly after the February signing day. “It’s not good for a team next year, though, with so many guys missing.”

Lapkin and Strout, the Monarchs’ goalie, recently signed with St. Francis in New York and Pepperdine, respectively. They bolstered a class that includes Luke Wyatt (USC), Bennie Seybold (Harvard), Sean Duncan (Princeton), Eli Luke (Pacific) and Ben Teitscheid (MIT).

Mater Dei’s classes of 2015 and 2014 each sent nine players to the collegiate ranks.

“Coach (Chris Segesman) did a great job training us the last few years, really putting us through hell and back, but obviously it paid off because so many guys are signing,” said Dunstan, a transfer from Connecticut now training with the U.S. national team.

Segesman said the players’ commitment to year-round training and their academics, and the program’s tradition, have fueled their ascent to the collegiate ranks.

“I coach to hopefully give these guys the skills in the water, outside of the water, to be successful at the next level,” he said. “For me, this is the proud moment.”

LOVE OF THE GAME

Mater Dei senior Alyssa Rocha, who signed with Kansas State for soccer, continues to show her dedication to the sport.

The defender from the Slammers club is facing a second knee surgery next month but vows to play for Kansas State, which is honoring her scholarship.

“Soccer is ... my life,” said Rocha, who limped through the signing day ceremony. “I don’t know what I would do without soccer.”

Rocha tore her right ACL the summer before her freshman year and never played for the Monarchs. She recently reinjured the same knee and will have surgery May 2.


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