Nov. 15, 2012
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State women's water polo head coach Carin Crawford announced the signing of Risa Burke, Alyssa Diacono, Katy Schneider and Jackie Villarreal to National Letters of Intent.
"We are excited to welcome four new Aztecs to our water polo program," Crawford said. "These four athletes come from some of the elite high school and club teams in California and will lay the foundation for our program's success in the years to come."
Burke inks with the Aztecs out of Edison High School and Huntington Beach Water Polo Club. A four-year varsity member and three-year starter at Edison, Burke has helped her team to a top-10 ranking in Orange County each of the last three seasons. While on the club circuit, the driver has been a member back-to-back California Cup Championship-winning teams (2010, 2011), helped capture the 2010 Mikasa Cup and won the 2008 Junior Olympics Gold title.
"Risa Burke is a very strong, accurate shooter who knows how to attack a defense and put the ball into the goal," Crawford said. "She was a leader on her 16-U Huntington Beach Water Polo club team this summer, with a top-four finish at JOs and a silver medal at U.S. club championships. We will look to Risa to strengthen our perimeter game during her career at SDSU."
Diacono will make the short trip south to Montezuma Mesa next season after her graduation from Tesoro High School in Las Flores, Calif. A four-year varsity player, the two-year team captain earned first-team all-league honors and was named offensive player of the year in 2012. Diacono is also member of the swim team where she helped Tesoro to the 2012 league championship.
"Alyssa Diacono has size, strength and is a strong shooting center," Crawford said. "A member of SET Water Polo Club since 2010, Alyssa has tremendous upside, as she was a multi-sport athlete who recently started to focus on water polo as her primary sport. Alyssa holds the single-season scoring record at Tesoro High School with 95 goals and we will look for her to continue to be a scorer at the center position as an SDSU Aztec."
Schneider signs with San Diego State out of Foothill High School. While at Foothill, Schneider helped her team to a runner-up CIF Division I finish in 2011, before finishing in fourth place in 2012. An excellent student, Schneider is a three-time scholar-athlete (2010-12) and two time academic All-American (2011-12). Schneider also plays club ball for Huntington Beach Water Polo Club.
"Katy Schneider is a strong attacker who brings a wealth of talent and experience as a member of championship teams from a very young age," Crawford said. "At Foothill High School, Katy plays for one of the top prep teams in the nation and competes against the best players her age in California. Katy is a physical player who knows how to create an advantage. Her aggressive style of play will fit in well with our attack, especially in the transition game. We are looking forward to having Katy join our program."
Villarreal is another Orange County product who hails from Laguna Hills, Calif., and Santa Margarita Catholic High School. The two-meter defender/utility played all four seasons while also competing for the volleyball team. Last season, Villarreal was named Santa Margarita's most improved player. At the club level, Villarreal plays for SET Water Polo Club.
"Jackie Villarreal is a talented utility player for her Santa Margarita High School team and has had excellent coaching there," Crawford said. "She has also gained high-level club experience with SET, one of the elite clubs in the nation. Jackie is a well-rounded athlete who will bring all the physical tools plus a tireless work ethic to our program.
"These four are quality student-athletes who I am excited to have the opportunity to coach through their collegiate water polo careers. They will help us continue our tradition of success."