Five All-America field players in 2017, a Hungarian with international playing experience and a promising 2-meter defender are among seven to join the San Jose State University women's water polo program beginning with the fall semester according to head coach Gabor Sarusi.
Two-time NCAA Division III first-team All-America Guara Garcia who completed her sophomore season at the University of La Verne, two-time high school All-America Alaina Lubbers from Hudsonville (Mich.) High, KAI-Sports eighth-team All-America Riley Agerbeek from Granite Hill High in El Cajon, Calif., and KAI-Sports honorable mention All-Americans Natalie Hosmer from Lincoln High in Stockton, Calif., and Josephine Personius from Sonora (Calif.) High received All-America honors in the 2016-17 academic year.
Lili Urvari, who played for Hungary at the 2015 European Games, in Azerbaijan, and Bella Schmidt, from Carlsbad (Calif.) High, round out the list of spring semster newcomers to the Spartan program.
"We had needs for 2-meter defense, lefthanders, goal scorers, getting faster and getting bigger as a team. Overall, when including the three players we signed in the fall, I'm very excited about this class," said San Jose State head coach Gabor Sarusi.
A Puerto Rican native and a 2-meter defender, Garcia scored 41 goals in her second season at La Verne. The 2017 first-team All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection was the conference's Newcomer of the Year in 2016 after scoring 56 goals. Garcia was a member of the 2015 Puerto Rico national team that competed in the Pan American Games and was on her country's silver medal winning national team for the XXII Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico in 2014.
"Guara is very athletic and reads game situations really well. She has had great success at both ends of the pool -- a great defender and a good offensive player," says Sarusi.
Lubbers was one of the top girls water polo players in the state of Michigan the last four seasons. She was a second-team NISCA Speedo All-America pick as a senior and a fifth-team selection as a junior. The two-time first-team all-state honoree was the state's Player of the Year and the Most Valuable Player of the state tournament as Hudsonville finished with a 31-5 win-loss record and won the 2017 state championship. Lubbers scored 138 goals for the season. She also scored 104 times as a freshman and 145 goals as a sophomore.
"Alaina is a playmaker. She creates a lot on offense. She is really fast in the water," according to the Spartans coach.
Urvari, a lefthanded driver, played for Hungary age-group national teams throughout her career. Most recently, she played club water polo for Szentesi VK.
"Lili has great game speed. She is a good passer and shooter," Sarusi said.
A utility player, Agerbeek scored 120 goals her senior year and helped Granite Hills High reach the C.I.F San Diego Section quarterfinal round. During her high school career, she scored 295 goals. The two-sport athlete was a catcher, third baseman and outfielder for the Granite Hills High softball team.
"Riley is very athletic, has a great shooting arm, and brings power into the water," according to the Spartans coach.
Hosmer, a driver, was one of the top players in the C.I.F. Sac-Joaquin Section the last three seasons. She was named the 2017 winner of Stockton, California's "Best of the Record" award for girls' water polo, was named the co-Most Valuable Player of the Tri-City Athletic League as a senior, and was an all-section player as a sophomore.
"She also is a very fast driver. Coming from a family of water polo players and swimmers, she has a very good understanding of the game," the Spartans head coach noted about Hosmer.
Personius also was a prolific goal scorer in high school. She scored 283 goals in 84 matches. As a driver, she burst on the scene as a sophomore pouring in 99 goals. Personius also scored 96 times as a senior and ranked 17th nationally in MaxPreps goal scoring statistics.
"Josie is a very aggressive driver. She never backs down whatever the situation is. She is constantly on the move in a game," said Sarusi about Personius.
A 2-meter defender, Schmidt was an All-C.I.F. Southern Section pick and an USA Water Polo academic all-star during her high school career.
"I like the way Bella plays 2-meter defense. She is very good at distributing the ball and is a very good shooter," the Spartans coach said about Schmidt.
During the 2016 fall semester signing period, All-American goalkeeper Hannah Henry from Soquel (Calif.) High, Mala Godinez from James Logan High in Union City, Calif., and Tyanna Supreme, a member of several Canadian age-group national teams, signed a National Letter-of-Intent to join the program this fall.