UC San Diego (19-12) vs. No. 9 San Diego State (20-9)
Friday, April 20 - 6:00 p.m.
Canyonview Aquatic Center - La Jolla, Calif.
UCSD plays its final regular season game Friday evening at against crosstown-rival San Diego State in the annual Harper Cup. The rivalry, recognizing the influence of current UCSD men's water polo head coach Denny Harper on the development of both programs, has been decidedly one-sided with the Aztecs winning each of the 10 previous encounters in the Cup.
Prior to Friday's game, there will be a ceremony to honor the five Triton players who will graduate at the end of the quarter - Kirsten Bates, Katherine Biehle, Natalie Peng, Jessica Tran and Allie Taylor. Be sure to arrive early to catch the festivities.
WWPA CHAMPIONSHIPS AT UCSD, APRIL 27-29
The 2012 Western Water Polo Association Women's Championship Tournament will take place April 27-29 at Canyonview Aquatic Center. UCSD, looking to defend its 2011 conference title, plays host to eight other WWPA squads. The Tritons earned the No. 2-seed for this year's competition, it was announced on Wednesday. The winner of the conference tournament advances to the eight-team NCAA Championships May 11-13 at SDSU. Click here for the Tournament Central page and for more information on the conference championships.
STRONG SHOWING AT THE BRONCO
The Tritons matched their longest win streak of the season by taking four consecutive games at the Santa Clara Invitational a.k.a. "The Bronco" last weekend. UCSD started off on Saturday with a 9-3 win over Cal State East Bay before taking down Cal State Monterey Bay 12-8. On Sunday, the Tritons topped Cal State San Bernardino 26-5 and then took down CSU Bakersfield 12-7. UCSD's win over CSUB avenged an earlier loss this season to the Roadrunners and clinched the No. 2-seed for the WWPA Championships. Sarah Lizotte led all Tritons with 10 goals over the four matches, while Kirsten Bates and Katherine Biehle logged eight and seven goals, respectively. 13 different players scored in the tournament.
With 19 wins already in 2012, UCSD has accounted for the most victories in a single season since head coach Brad Kreutzkamp took the reins in 2009. Having won 18 games the previous two seasons under Kreutzkamp, the Tritons last won 19 games in 2008. If the Tritons can win one of their next four matches (one regular season, three postseason), UCSD would seal its first 20-win season since going 24-14 in 2003.
UC San Diego holds a 13-38 all-time record against San Diego State. The Tritons have played more contests against the Aztecs - 51 - than any other team. SDSU has proved victorious in the last 16 meetings between the squads. UCSD last beat SDSU on February 10, 2002, 5-4.
UC San Diego scored a season-high 26 goals in Sunday morning's victory over Cal State San Bernardino. The goal-total is the school's second highest in program history. The 26 scores are the most goals in a game since the Tritons beat Occidental 27-1 on April 10, 1993. UCSD also set a season high for steals with 17 against the Coyotes.
UCSD limited CSUEB to a season-low three goals-against on Saturday morning, including a 0-for-4 clip in 6-on-5 situations. It marked the first time this season in which the Tritons held their opponent scoreless on man-up opportunities.
The senior center will leave UCSD as one of the all-time greats to play in a Triton uniform. Bates' 66 goals as a sophomore in 2010 is the eighth-best in program history and she appears in the school's all-time top 10 for career goals (196, 5th), shot attempts (506, 4th), assists (89, 9th), steals (164,5th) and penalties drawn (23, 3rd). A two-time ACWPC Division II All-American, she was named NCAA All-Tournament Second Team, WWPA Second Team, WWPA All-Academic Team and WWPA All-Tournament First Team as a junior in 2011. This season, Bates has scored 44 goals while adding 16 assists and a team-high 40 steals.
The senior attacker made an immediate impact for UCSD after transferring from the University of Pacific for her junior season. To date, Biehle has scored 56 goals on .400 shooting (56-for-140), adding 23 assists and 72 steals in her two-year career. She was honored on Collegesports360.com's "Primetime Performers" this season for her role in UCSD's road upset of Long Beach State, in which she scored three key goals in the Tritons' 9-7 victory on February 18.
A transfer student from Cerritos City College, Peng has been a regular starter since joining the Tritons in 2011. She scored a pair of goals at last season's NCAA Championships and carries career totals of 32 goals, 21 assists and 60 steals. The senior utility has scored 12 goals while adding 10 assists, 25 steals and 23 ejections drawn in her final campaign.
Tran, a senior utility from Irvine, has played a key role in the Tritons' success over the past four seasons. Her 96 career assists are eighth-best in program history and her 38 assists this season are a team-high. She is one of three current Tritons to hold over 100 goals in her career (126). She came up big in the WWPA championship game last year, registering a hat trick in UCSD's upset of Loyola Marymount. Tran tallied at least one assist in each of the team's first 12 contests this season and set a team-high with five assists in UCSD's win over Marist on January 29.
UCSD's everyday goalkeeper over the last two seasons, Taylor will graduate early after spending the last three years at UCSD. Just a junior, Taylor is eighth all-time with 435 career saves. She set career highs with 13 saves against Pacific (March 3) and Brown (March 30) and has logged 211 stops so far this season. Taylor helped UCSD clinch the No. 2-seed for this year's WWPA Championships, stopping 15 shots while adding seven assists at The Bronco.
Lizotte's 80 goals this season is third-best all-time and she needs five more to break the school's single-season record ... Hannah Guthman and Colette Gulick recorded career highs with four goals against CSUSB ... Brittany Daniels also had a hat trick against the Coyotes ... UCSD outscored CSUB 5-0 in the fourth quarter on Sunday ... UCSD is the No. 2-seed for the WWPA Championships for the third season in a row ... The Tritons are 0-3 against top 10 teams this season ... Melissa Bartow's 81 ejections drawn in 2012 is fourth-highest in a single season.
“SWIM WITH MIKE” at UCSD, MAY 5, 2012
The UCSD men’s and women’s water polo teams will help host the second-annual “Swim With Mike” program at UC San Diego on Cinco de Mayo from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Canyonview Aquatic Center. The “Swim With Mike” program raises scholarship money for athletes who have suffered life-altering injuries that have led to physical disabilities. Last weekend, “Swim With Mike” events raised over $1 million at USC and UC Berkeley. Log on to www.swimwithmike.org for event information, how to get involved and how to donate. Donations can be made online and on-site May 5. All of the scholarship recipients are registered to swim at the event and the teams will have sponsor sheets, and be registered as teams online as well.
COACH K ON TWITTER
UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp is a lively guy on the pool deck and now you can follow his perspective on the team through Twitter. Follow @UCSDcoachK for an in-depth look inside the Triton women's water polo program. In addition, you can always keep in touch with UCSD Athletics through @UCSDtritons and facebook.com/UCSDtritons.