Water polo All-American and basketball standout honored as top student-athletes
Women’s basketball junior Liz Smith and men’s water polo sophomore Reuel D’Souza were honored with the Director of Athletics All-Tiger Award as the top female and male student-athletes from the 2022-23 school year at the 11th annual Tommy Awards, which celebrates the accomplishments of Pacific student-athletes on and off the field.
Smith led the Tigers to a sixth-place regular season finish and the first West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal berth since 2018.
She led Pacific in scoring (14 points per game) while reaching double figures in 25 games. The Dallas, Texas native earned All-WCC First Team honors and reached 500 career points with a 21-point performance against Gonzaga. She has scored 696 career points headed into her fourth season.
Smith led the Tigers through the first three rounds of the conference tournament in Las Vegas, scoring 50 points in the three games.“Liz was one of our best all-around players all year and our emotional leader,” said Head Coach Bradley Davis. “She was a huge part of our success down the stretch in the second half of the season.”
D’Souza was honored after leading the Tigers to the Golden Coast Conference title and an NCAA tournament win before bowing in the NCAA Men's Water Polo Final Four semifinal. He led the team with 100 points, including 54 goals and a team-best 46 assists. His 100 points led the conference in scoring.
The co-captain from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, played a crucial role in the championship run, scoring five times in the conference semifinal while contributing two steals, tying his season high. D'Souza was named to the Golden Coast Conference All-Tournament Team.
He received several postseason honors including First Team All-GCC, NCAA All-Tournament Team and First-Team All-American by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches.
“I think anyone who has been around Reuel as a player or coach knows how much he brings to our program,” Head Coach James Graham said. “Pacific is proud to have him as one of our leaders.”
D’Souza was recently named one of three finalists for the 2023 Peter J. Cutino Award, which recognizes the best player in college water polo from across the country.
Other honors recognized at the banquet included the Amos Alonzo Stagg Senior Scholar-Athlete Award, provided to the female and male student-athletes with the highest grade point average. Softball pitcher Vanessa Strong and soccer midfielder Avery Whipple were the winners.
The Dan Malley Service Award, named in memory of the late assistant athletics director who lost his battle to cancer at the age of 32, was awarded to Whipple and women’s water polo goalkeeper Clara Vulpisi. Whipple, who is a Powell Scholar, has worked as an undergraduate assistant on two research teams and volunteered to tutor students in the Quest for the Test program. Vulpisi is completing her second term as president of the Pacific Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and played for her native Canada in the Tokyo Olympics. She held a leadership role with Hidden Opponent, an advocacy group for the mental health of student-athletes.
The Pacific Tiger Leadership Award was presented to senior tennis student-athlete Danielle Zamora and junior swimmer Aidan Scott. Both were members of the student-athlete advisory committee.