Raquel de Pinho epitomized the "Viking Way" by taking care of business in the classroom and on game day. After a storied water polo career in Saratoga, de Pinho has been named the West Valley College 2020 Female Athlete Of The Year.
de Pinho, the backup goalkeeper on the Brazilian national team, was the Coast Conference Goalkeeper of the Year in each of her two seasons in Saratoga. In 2019, she was the Coast MVP, and an All-America, All-State, All-NorCal and All-Coast 1st Team selection. In 2018, de Pinho was an All-Coast 1st-teamer, an All-NorCal 2nd teamer and an All-American. More importantly, she dominated the water while maintaining a 3.5 cumulative GPA.
When asked about de Pinho, Viking women's water polo coach Erika Vargas said, "There's so much to say about such an amazing athlete. Raquel's perserverance, determination, resiliance and positive attitude has molded her into the best goalie the West Valley women's water polo team has ever had."
That's impressive praise, as de Pinho succeeded Kendall McCarrick, herself a two-time Coast Goalkeeper of the Year. WVC Aquatics Director Willo Rodriguez agreed with Vargas, saying, "Raquel was the best goalie in the state. Her defensive play helped the women's program to two undefeated regular seasons. Her presence in the cage changed the history of the program."
de Pinho is set to take her considerable athletic and academic talents to San Diego St. on scholarship in the fall. Vargas said de Pinho will transfer to SDSU, "as the most decorated player in our program's history. I am proud to have had the pleasure of coaching such an outstanding person. Raquel is a true Viking for life and has set the standard for years to come. She will be missed, but her legacy will remain."