LEXINGTON, Va. – After concluding her first season of varsity water polo at VMI, head coach Anna Phelps has announced the incoming class for this fall, which includes five players across five different positions in the pool and come to Lexington from three different states.
“I am pleased to see all of the recruiting efforts for the class of 2012-13 come to fruition. We scoured the country and are looking forward to welcoming five new recruits on Post. We have filled in some gaps in the roster to include: goalie Molly Watkins (Santa Barbara, Calif.), center Andrea Rangel (Lakewood, Calif.), center defender Caitlyn Jackson (Gilroy, Calif.), utility Emily Cait Farsakian (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and attacker Joyce Zabala (Winter Springs, Fla.). Additionally we see the return of Celine Lazzaro as she recovers from shoulder surgery,” said Phelps of the newcomers.
Below is a brief bio of each incoming player.
Emily Caitlin (Emy Cait) Farsakian – A goalkeeper, who can also fill the utility role, Farsakian helped lead her team to the Michigan state finals in both 2009 and 2010 where the Hornets finished as the runner up in both seasons. This past season, Farsakian turned aside 57.3 percent of her opponents’ shots, making 164 saves along the way. The 5-8 keeper was a four-year varsity letter winner for Mary Chatigny, starting for three of those seasons while serving as a co-captain this year. She was also a member of the Great Lakes Water Polo club, as well as a member of the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program (ODP). Farsakian also participated on her high school’s swim team, which claimed state titles in 2009 and 2010. Out of the pool Farsakian was a member of the chamber choir, marching band, did an independent study in education, working with a kindergarten class and groups of special needs children. She also emceed the fashion show for the Junior League of Birmingham for two years (2009, 2010).
Caitlyn Jackson – Adding height to the Keydets’ back line will be Caitlyn Jackson, who stands at 5-10 and hails from Gilroy, Calif. While lettering for three seasons under Rachel Rhodes, Jackson was named CAL Second Team, as well as CCS Honorable Mention. Jackson was also a member of the Stanford Water Polo Club and was invited to the training academy for the national team. Jackson also participated on the Olympic Development Program Pacific Region A team. A standout in the classroom as well, Jackson was named to Archbishop Mitty’s honor roll all four years. Jackson also helped claim women’s water polo junior Olympic and club championship titles.
Andrea Rangel – Another four-year letter winner, Rangel will look to add depth to a solid attack line next season. Playing as both a set guard and attacker for Rob Smith at Saint Joseph High School in Lakewood, Calif., Rangel served as a varsity captain for three seasons. She was also a four-year letter winner in swimming for the same coach as well. Rangel, who was named the Most Valuable Player for 2011-12, also played on several club teams in southern California, playing on Los Alamitos Water Polo Club, Huntington Beach Water Polo Club and SET Water Polo Club. For the 2011 season, she was a first team All-League pick for the San Gabriel Valley, as well as her team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2010-11.
Molly Watkins – Another southern Californian, Watkins comes to VMI from Ventura Calif. and will likely be one of the tallest players in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this coming season, standing at 6-1. A goalie out of Ventura High School, Watkins lettered in three seasons. Watkins uses her height to her advantage, setting career and season marks for blocks at Buena High School, where she played prior to transferring to Ventura. During her time in high school, Watkins earned All-America Honorable Mention plaudits. She also played with USA Water Polo and the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club. Out of the pool, Watkins is a member of the United State Women’s National Team Handball team as a pool member. Athletics runs deep in the Watkins family, as Molly’s sister, Lauren, competed in softball, track and cross country at the US Merchant Marine Academy, a Division III school in King’s Point, N.Y.
Joyce Zabala – A utility player out of Winter Springs, Fla., near Orlando, Zabala will bring three years of varsity experience to Post. Last season’s leading scorer for head coach Elaine Lunberg, Zabala finished 2012 with 40 goals and 30 assists. She finished near the top in steals as well, wresting possession away from her opponents 45 times. Zabala was also a four-year letter winner for the Bishop Moore swim team as well as the Serpents, Hurricanes and Blue Dolphin club water polo teams. Zabala was named Rookie of the Year in 2010, Most Aggressive Player in 2011 and Most Valuable Player in 2012. She also served as a team captain in 2012. A junior Olympic qualifier, Zabala also helped claim first at the Sunshine State games.
“All of these players have operated under a similar system of play and I expect their contributions to be immediate. By combining our current roster with these very talented student-athletes I anticipate a very successful season and am looking forward to getting the entire team in the water,” concluded Phelps of this year’s incoming class.