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Koshy, four others, sign to play water polo at Stanford

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Sacred Heart Prep senior Malaika Koshy heads the list of highly regarded recruits who will join the Stanford women's water polo program after signing national letters of intent, it was announced Wednesday.

Koshy is joined by Lauren Bywater (Riverside Poly), Kayla Constandse (Mater Dei/Santa Ana), Emalia Eichelberger (Punahou/Honolulu) and Hannah Shabb (Lakeside School/Seattle) as Stanford looks to continue its recent success.

Malaika Koshy
"The Stanford women's water polo class of 2020 has terrific skill, balance and tenacity," Cardinal coach John Tanner said. "It's a group that will bring talent, energy and leadership to our program. Above all, they've been resolute in pursuing greatness in the classroom and pool. We are extremely excited to have them join us on The Farm next September."

Koshy scored 88 goals in 29 matches as a junior, with a quarter of them over the final five games in West Catholic Athletic League and Central Coast Section playoffs.

She was named the Central Coast Section Girls Player of the Year, the first for the Gators since Stanford alumnae Pallavi Menon and Vee Dunlevie in 2007 and 2008.

Koshy was also named to the First Team on the 2014-15 National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association/Speedo All-American squad, one of just four juniors on the elite, 14-member team that also included Stanford freshman Kat Klass and 2014 signee Makenzie Fischer.

She is an active member of the Sacred Heart Robotics program and received an award from the Rotary Club of Menlo Park for academic excellence in her geometry honors class.

"A fantastic shutdown defender, Malaika is long, tenacious and tough in front of goal," Tanner said. "She's persistent in the classroom and in the sport of water polo and her diligence shows in everything she does."

Bywater helped the Bears to three straight CIF-Southern Section finals, including a CIF-SS Division V championship in 2014.

As a junior, she poured in 136 goals, the second-highest total in the Inland area – and was named Inland Empire Player of the Year.

"We are thrilled to add someone of Lauren's caliber to our program," Tanner said. "She's aggressive and relentless on defense and a clever, clinical finisher at the other end of the pool."

Constandse is a USA Water Polo veteran and a current member of the Youth National Team. She won gold with Team USA at the 2013 UANA Youth Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina along with current Cardinal Kat Klass.

She's also a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar and was a 2015 USA Water Polo Outstanding Academic All-American.

"Kayla is consistently poised in the pool and always alert, traits which are essential for someone at her position," Tanner commented. "She is a great defender, both 1-on-1 and within the team system, and her humility makes her a natural leader."

Eichelberger, a goalkeeper, won a number of golds for her country, including at the 2015 FINA Junior World Championships in Volos, Greece alongside Stanford junior Jamie Neushul and sophomore Jordan Raney, the 2014 UANA Junior Pan American Championships in Riverside with Raney and the UANA Youth Pan American Championships in Argentina with Constandse and Klass.

"Emalia has a solid temperament and possesses a commanding presence in goal," Tanner added. "Athletically, she understands angles and positioning so well. She'll fit right in on The Farm and we're excited to have her."

Shabb was on the USA Women's Youth National Team in 2015 and the Cadet National Team in 2014, which included a training session in Hungary.

Shabb is also among the top 10 in the nation in the 400 IM and represented the Pacific Northwest in the North American Challenge Cup and All-Star International swim meets.

Hannah's parents, Sam Shabb and Mary Ruckelshaus are both Stanford graduates. Her father played water polo for the Cardinal in the early 1980s, winning a pair of national championships in 1980 and 1981.

"Hannah is an extremely energetic player," Tanner commented. "Her speed and multi-position skills make her a very versatile and welcome addition to our team."

— Stanford Athletics

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The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

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