Best of Triton Athletics

    Freshman of the Year

    Sarah Lizotte, women’s water polo

    Sarah Lizotte excelled as soon as she entered UCSD, quickly becoming a key member of the women’s water polo team and helping them finish seventh in the nation. The Riverside, Calif. native was third on the team with 46 goals while also compiling 21 assists. She was awarded the WWPA Player of the Week on Apr. 13, after tallying 12 goals in four games to lead her team to a 3-1 record at the Bronco tournament at Santa Clara. Plus, with star Hanalei Crowell graduating, Lizotte guarantees that the Tritons will be stocked with valuable talent for years to come.

    Honorable mention: Mya Romero (softball), Nick Korth (swimming), James

    McCann (men’s basketball)

    Best Male Athlete

    Nick Howe, track & field

    Already the defending national champion in the javelin throw, Howe retained his title on his first attempt at the national meet. His mark of 231’3” blew away the competition and secured his second straight title — the only two UCSD has on the men’s side in Division II. And Howe’s season is not finished: His throw qualified him for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in June, where he’ll compete against America’s top throwers in Eugene, Ore.

    Honorable mention: Tim Shibuya (baseball), Phil Bannan (volleyball), Keith Okasaki (golf)

    Best Female Athlete

    Camille Gaito, softball

    This season’s pitcher Camille Gaito became the winningest pitcher in UCSD history (35-4), making 47 appearances for the Tritons. The junior is without a doubt the best pitcher the school has ever seen, and now with a national title under her belt, she is arguably the best Division II pitcher in the nation. As an NSFCA Division II All-American and the best pitcher in the West region, Gaito threw every inning of every game for the Tritons. Standing just 5’4” Gaito clearly established herself as the most dominant arm in Division II softball, ending the season with the second lowest ERA in the nation (.75), while also leading her team to their first ever national championship.

    Honorable mention: Lisa Bradley (women’s soccer), Chelsea Carlisle (women’s basketball), Stephanie LeFever (track and field), Alex Henley (swimming), Hanalei Crowell (women’s water polo)

    Best Breakthrough Athlete

    Annette Ilg, women’s soccer

    Annette Ilg spent four years making her name as a leader on the women’s basketball team—receiving an honorable mention from the Guardian in last year’s edition for best championship performance. But when the graduate student aged out, becoming ineligible to play another year with coach Charity Elliot, Ilg made the switch from the court to the pitch, and was invited to join the women’s soccer team. Making a seamless transition, Ilg earned her way into the starting eleven by midseason and eventually became an instrumental piece in the Triton attack. Ilg’s speed off the ball and nose for the goal made her a lethal striker in the Triton’s postseason run. By the end of the season, Ilg led the team in goals and was also named the CCAA newcomer of the year.

    Honorable mention: Sarah Lizotte (women’s water polo), Emily Osga (women’s basketball), Brian Donohoe (men’s water polo), Nick La Face (baseball)

    Best Coach or Manager

    Patti Gerckens, softball

    Gerckens began her softball coaching career at UCSD 19 years ago. In the subsequent seasons, Gerckens accumulated a 440-420 record, though the lackluster record couldn’t convey Gerckens’ talent as a manager. But in the Tritons’ championship postseason run, Gerckens showed an uncanny knack for picking exactly the right pinch hitter and utilizing the perfect pinch runners. The manager always found a way around the Tritons’ offensive shortcomings — whether calling for the squeeze play or tweaking the batting order — to lead her team to the program’s first ever NCAA Division II title.

    Honorable mention: Brian McManus (women’s soccer), Brad Kreutzkamp (women’s water polo)

    Best Game

    UCSD 3, Chico State 2 (men’s soccer)

    After a rough start to the season, the men’s soccer team went on a six-game unbeaten streak before running into No. 14 Chico State. Following a back-and-forth first half, UCSD went up 1-0 just after the halftime whistle, thanks to a rebound goal off the foot of senior defender and captain Jared Kakura. Chico came alive after going down, and the Tritons had to withstand heavy pressure from the visitors. Chico striker Ferid Celosmanovic leveled the score in the 62nd minute and took the lead in the 88th minute. The game seemed over for the Tritons, but less than 60 seconds later mid-fielder David Bakall headed in a cross to tie it up at 2-2 and force extra time. In the 100th minute, Kakura found the golden goal after a scramble in the box and sealed a dramatic comeback win.

    Honorable mention: UCSD 1, St. Rose 0 (women’s soccer, NCAA tournament), UCSD 2, Chico State 1 (softball, NCAA tournament), UCSD 58, CSUMB 48 (women’s basketball, spirit night 2/5/11)

    Best Moment

    Women’s water polo beats Loyola to make NCAA tournament.

    The women’s water polo team went an abysmal 0-14 against ranked opponents during the regular season. Nevertheless, they made it to the conference championship, but had to face No. 8 Loyola Marymount. The winner would take the WWPA title and the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament that came with it. The Tritons were down 10-8 early in the fourth quarter, but goals from Jessica Tran and Hanalei Crowell tied the game. UCSD scored six goals in the final stanza — including three from Tran — and pulled away to stun Loyola and win UCSD’s first conference title since 2000.

    Honorable mention: Softball wins the national title, Jared Kakura’s game-winning goal against Chico State

    Best Graduating Senior

    Kelly Fogarty, track and field

    Without a doubt, Fogarty is the fastest woman ever to compete for UCSD. She pocketed both the 100- and 200-meter school records as an underclassman and went on to improve those times dramatically. She leaves with personal bests of 11.52 in the 100 and 23.55 in the 200, and was an All-American in both events each of the last two years. What is most impressive is that her times stand far out from any UCSD athlete that came before her, and her records are likely to stand for years to come.

    Honorable mention: Lisa Bradley (women’s soccer), Kris Lesovsky (softball), Stephanie LeFever (track and field), Phil Bannan (men’s volleyball), Evan Kehoe (baseball)

    Outstanding Team


    For a team picked to finish fifth in the conference, UCSD softball not only beat the odds, they shattered both records and expectations. This season the UCSD softball team won the regular season championship, going 22-10 (the best record in program history), claimed the top spot in the West region (for the first time in school history) and became the NCAA Division II champions — going 4-0 in the national tournament — to give UCSD its first title since 2001. The team also boasts two NFSCA Division II All-Americans in junior pitcher Camille Gaito and senior Kris Lesovsky, and will go into the next season ranked No. 1 in the nation.

    Honorable mention: Men’s tennis, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Water Polo

    Best Championship Performance

    Matt Herman at NCAA Division II Championships

    After taking home his first national title on the first day of the meet, Matt Herman decided he needed another and won a second one two days later. He won the 1000-freestyle with a three-second cushion on the first day, fighting off some fatigue at the 500 mark. He then came back and won the 1650-freestyle, once again getting off to a strong start and holding off the field. Impressively, Herman was seeded fifth and second in the events coming into the meet, with significant gaps to the top-seeded swimmers. But Herman’s gritty performance saw him walk away with a pair of NCAA titles.

    Honorable mention: Stephanie LeFever at CCAA Championships, Camille Gaito throughout NCAA tournament, Jessica Miklaski’s at NCAA Championships

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