Palm Desert senior Sarah Nichols entered her senior water polo season already with a college scholarship lined up at UC Irvine.
But Nichols never lost her fire, en route to both league- and team-scoring records, earning the Desert Valley League’s MVP award with the release of the league’s postseason awards.
With the help of the league adding two more regular season games to the slate with Shadow Hills joining, Nichols recorded 69 goals in 12 games to set the new league mark. She also set the Palm Desert season record this year, with 170 goals in the Aztecs’ 30 games. She finished her career with 408 goals in four seasons that included three CIF SS finals appearances, leading to two titles.
On the All-DVL first team, Nichols was joined by junior teammate Alissa Clyde and senior Cassie Bija. The La Quinta Blackhawks also landed three girls on the first team, all of them sophomores in Savannah Hampton, Rachel Sherman and goalkeeper Kailey Iniguez. Xavier Prep sophomore Reina Rover and junior Jill Barbato were also honored.
Six of the league’s seven schools landed girls on the All-DVL second team, led by La Quinta with two in sophomores Ariel Carter and Lauren Olivier and Xavier Prep with two in senior goalkeeper Savy Jessup and junior Blair Burlingame. The rest of the second team was made up of three juniors – Shadow Hills’ Mary Turley, Palm Springs’ Destiny Purdy and Palm Desert’s Savy Stein – and Cathedral City senior Marilu Hernandez.
All-Desert Valley League girls’ water polo team
Palm Desert: Sarah Nichols, Alissa Clyde, Cassie Bija
La Quinta: Savannah Hampton, Rachel Sherman, Kailey Iniguez
Xavier Prep: Jill Barbato, Reina Rover
La Quinta: Ariel Carter, Lauren Olivier
Xavier Prep: Blair Burlingame, Savy Jessup
Palm Desert: Savy Stein
Palm Springs: Destiny Purdy
Cathedral City: Marilu Hernandez
Shadow Hills: Mary Turley
La Quinta: Mikka Von Scherr, Hadar Gamuel
Xavier Prep: Ariel Forehand, Emma Cooper
Cathedral City: Julie Cooper, Angela Improm
Palm Springs: Alex Salinas
Palm Desert: Andrea Uribe, Judy Morrow
Shadow Hills: A.J. Woody, Brianna Ortiz
Indio: Lizbeth Garcia
MVP: Sarah Nichols, Palm Desert
Coach of the Year: Michelle Valovic, Palm Desert
Sportsmanship: Shadow Hills