Balding Named CWPA Rookie of the Year; Andersen, Price Garner All-Conference Honors

Balding Named CWPA Rookie of the Year; Andersen, Price Garner All-Conference Honors

It's the second consecutive season Harvard has had three honorees (photo courtesy: Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Freshman Melissa Balding headlined a trio of Harvard women's water polo players that were recognized with postseason awards by the Collegiate Water Polo Association, the conference announced Thursday. Balding was named the CWPA Southern Division Rookie of the Year, while sophomore Yoshi Andersen garnered first-team honors and senior Shayna Price took home second-team accolades.

Balding becomes the first Harvard student-athlete to collect Rookie of the Year honors since the team moved to the Southern Division three seasons ago and just the second athlete to take home the award in program history. It marks the first Rookie of the Year distinction under fourth-year head coach Ted Minnis.

The top-scoring freshman on the team, Balding amassed 35 goals, five assists and 13 steals in 32 appearances. The Costa Mesa, Calif., native found the back of the net in 21 games and registered four three-plus goal performances. Balding also picked up four CWPA Southern Division Rookie of the Week honors throughout her first season in Cambridge.

Andersen earns her first Southern Division first-team accolade after being named to the second team in her inaugural campaign a season ago. An attack from Laguna Beach, Calif., leads the team with 69 goals and 34 assists to her credit, while chipping in 28 steals. She netted a team-high 14 hat tricks and established a new-career high with six goals at George Washington March 29.

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Price picks up her first All-CWPA honor with a second-team nod. She has totaled 51 goals, 26 assists and 33 steals, ranking second on the team in all three categories. She recorded the longest goal streak on the team this season at 10 games and had eight hat tricks this year.

The Crimson heads to the CWPA Championships this weekend as the No. 7 seed in the tournament. Harvard begins play Friday at 1:30 p.m., against No. 2 Princeton.