USC’s Stephania Haralabidis Wins Peter J. Cutino Award

    June 4, 2016

    USC junior Stephania Haralabidis has capped a perfect season for the Women of Troy in perfect form, having been honored as the 2015-16 Peter J. Cutino Award winner. Haralabidis is the sixth USC woman to win the prestigious award — considered the Heisman Trophy of water polo — and the first USC female honoree since 2010. For the fourth time in program history, USC had two women in line for the Cutino Award, as fellow junior Brigitta Games also was selected as a finalist this year. Haralabidis’ win marks the seventh Cutino Award won by a Trojan on the women’s side and 12th overall by a USC male or female to net USC the most Cutino honors in the nation. The 17th annual Cutino Awards Dinner was held tonight (June 4) at The Olympic Club's City Clubhouse in San Francisco.

    Although it was her final goal of the year that stands out above the rest — an unbelievable game-winning score from almost mid-pool in the final moments of the 2016 NCAA Championship game — Haralabidis’ hard work throughout the season was instrumental in the USC women’s run to an undefeated 2016 campaign. A lefty from Athens, Greece, Haralabidis was the Trojans’ top scorer with 63 goals this season, moving her up to rank No. 8 all-time in career scoring at Troy with 185 goals. She scored in every single game in which she played in 2016, including an incredible five-goal outing in the epic NCAA title match. But Haralabidis has proven herself as much of a set-up player as a scorer, issuing countless assists to teammates throughout the year. 

    Haralabidis was also honored as the 2016 ACWPC National Player of the Year and the MPSF Player of the Year, as well as the NCAA Tournament MVP. Now a three-time All-American after this year’s First Team selection, Haralabidis has certainly made her mark in the USC history books. This year’s selection as a Peter J. Cutino Award winner catapults Haralabidis into another echelon of collegiate water polo’s elite. Her earning of the award snaps a five-year stretch of Stanford women claiming the Cutino, dating back to USC’s last winner — Kami Craig in 2010.

    USC goalie Bernice Orwig won the inaugural Peter J. Cutino Award in 1999, and there is now a grand total of 10 USC men and women who have combined to collect 12  Cutino Awards. Kami Craig and J.W. Krumpholz stand out as back-to-back honorees, having made it USC sweeps of the award in 2009 and 2010. On the women’s side, USC’s five previous winners have been Bernice Orwig (1999), Aniko Pelle (2000), Moriah Van Norman (2004), Lauren Wenger (2006) and Kami Craig (2009 & 2010). The last Trojan — male or female — to win the Cutino Award was another Greek national, in fact. On the men’s side, USC’s Kostas Genidounias won the Cutino Award last season. With a total of 12 combined men's and women's Cutino Award victories, now USC leads the nation in its collection of water polo's highest honor -- all under the direction of USC men's and women's head coach Jovan Vavic.

    Joining Haralabidis and Games as the female finalists for this year's Cutino Award was Mackenzie Barr of UCLA. Games' and Haralabidis' status as Cutino Award finalists ran USC's all-time count of nominees for the honor to 15 finalists. Games was USC’s second leading scorer with 43 goals in 2016. She also finished the year as a First Team All-American, and helped the Trojan cause immensely with her powerful work out of two-meters. She earned countless ejections, and came up huge in many games, including a clutch pair of goals in the NCAA title match and a hat trick in the NCAA semifinal. The junior out of Littleton, Colo., was named to the NCAA All-Tournament First Team and was an All-MPSF Second Team pick this year.

    The Cutino Award is given annually in honor of the late Peter J. Cutino, the former University of California Berkeley and The Olympic Club coach, who passed away in September 2004. Mr. Cutino is in the U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame. He won "Water Polo Coach of the Year" 17 times. He led UC Berkeley to eight NCAA National Championships. In his career Mr. Cutino also coached in the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the Water Polo World Championships and the World University Games.

    All-time Peter J. Cutino Award winners:
    1999 - Bernice Orwig (USC)
    2000 - Aniko Pelle (USC) & Sean Kern (UCLA)
    2001 - Coralie Simmons (UCLA) & Sean Kern (UCLA)
    2002 - Brenda Villa (Stanford) & Tony Azevedo (Stanford)
    2003 - Jackie Frank (Stanford) & Tony Azevedo (Stanford)
    2004 - Moriah Van Norman (USC) & Tony Azevedo (Stanford)
    2005 - Natalie Golda (UCLA) & Tony Azevedo (Stanford)
    2006 - Lauren Wenger (USC) & Juraj Zatovic (USC)
    2007 - Kelly Rulon (UCLA) & John Mann (Cal)
    2008 - Courtney Mathewson (UCLA) & Tim Hutten (UC Irvine)
    2009 - Kami Craig (USC) & J.W. Krumpholz (USC) 
    2010 - Kami Craig (USC) & J.W. Krumpholz (USC)
    2011 - Annika Dries (Stanford) & Ivan Rackov (California)
    2012 - Kiley Neushel (Stanford) & Joel Dennerley (USC)
    2013 - Melissa Seidemann (Stanford) & Balazs Erdelyi (Pacific)
    2014 - Annika Dries (Stanford) & Balazs Erdelyi (Pacific)
    2015 - Kiley Neushel (Stanford) & Kostas Genidounias (USC)

    2016 - Stephania Haralabidis (USC) & Garrett Danner (UCLA)