Irvine, Calif. − Following an 11-game winning streak and a second-consecutive Big West Tournament title, seven University of Hawai’i water polo players earned conference postseason awards on Thursday. Headlining the awards are freshman Lucia Gomez de la Puente and junior Carmen Baringo who are named to the conference’s first team and head coach Maureen Cole who was named Coach of the Year.
Baringo, who led the team in both steals (27) and field blocks (17) was a nightmare for opposing offenses, frustrating opponents all season with 22 defensive exclusions drawn over the year. The award is the second time the junior has been recoginized in conference awards, as a freshman in 2018, Baringo was named to the All-Freshman Team.
Gomez de la Puente, who leads Hawai’i with 21 goals and 20 assists, was also named Freshman of the Year, headlining a group of three freshman on the conferences All-Freshman Team. Gomez de la Puente has now scored 33 goals in her time with an H on her cap and has added 27 assists in her time at Hawaii.
Along with Gomez de la Puente and Baringo, three other Wahine are named to the Big West’s first or second team’s. Junior Molly DiLalla, and sophomores Libby Gault and Emma van Rossum are named Big West second-team selections.
DiLalla, the main goalie for Hawaii in 2021 kept 74 shots out of the net in the 12 games she played and started. Gault, finished second on the team in goals with 18 and added five assists. van Rossum finished second on the team in steals (18) and had five field blocks during the year.
For Cole, the Coach of the Year award is her fourth at the helm in Manoa. Cole has guided the Rainbow Wahine to back-to-back Big West Tournament championships (2019, ’21) and in the last two seasons the Wahine had 11-game winning streaks, with UH currently on an 11-game win streak. Cole has also guided Hawai’i on a 12-game winning streak at home spanning back to the 2019 season, the longest in school history.