UC San Diego hosts San Diego State in the 13th-Annual Harper Cup Friday, Apr. 18 at Canyonview Aquatic Center at 6 p.m. The non-conference matchup marks the final regular season game before postseason play picks up next week at the Western Water Polo (WWPA) Championships. The Tritons host the conference tournament on Apr. 25-27.
13th-ANNUAL HARPER CUP
The Harper Cup is named for UCSD’s men’s water polo coach Denny Harper, who played at San Diego State and graduated as an undergraduate in 1978. He established the SDSU women’s water polo club team and went on to coach UCSD’s women’s team to five collegiate national championships from 1985-1999. The inaugural game between the neighbor schools was in 2002. SDSU has won all 12 matchups to keep the Harper Cup at Montezuma Mesa all 12 years. This season marks the first time the Tritons possess the higher national ranking. A post-game MVP will be selected following the game.
Prior to the start of the game, UCSD’s four seniors will be honored as they play their final regular season game at Canyonview Aquatic Center. Melissa Bartow, Sarah Lizotte, Leah Gonzales and Allison Delgado will be honored in front of the home crowd.
General admission tickets can be purchased for $5.00 dollars at the entrance of Canyonview Aquatic Center. Admission to all home games is free to UCSD students who present a valid school ID.
The game will be covered by a live stream with play-by-play from UCSD grads Craig Elsten and Jamie Dailey. An accomplished UCSD water polo player, Dailey sits in third on the Tritons’ career all-time scoring record (218) and second on the all-time assists list (125). The video feed can be accessed by clicking here.
Don’t miss your chance to grab your team poster of the UCSD women’s water polo squad this Friday at the entrance gate. The free poster is sponsored by UCSD Dining Services and Pepsi, and will be available at all remaining home water polo matches.
In the latest Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) poll released Ap. 16, UCSD was slated No. 14 in the nation. The Tritons have reached as high as No. 6 this season, which marks the highest ranking since head coach Brad Kreutzkamp took over the program in 2010.
FINAL WWPA STANDINGS
1. UC San Diego: 4-0, 24-10
T-2. Cal State East Bay: 2-2, 14-13
T-2. Cal State Monterey Bay: 2-2, 9-16
T-2. Sonoma State: 2-2, 7-20
5. Cal State San Bernardino: 0-4, 3-22
The Tritons earned the No. 1 seed at the WWPA Championships on Apr. 25-27. The winner of the WWPA title will earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship Tournament on May 9-11 at Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles. Check out the tournament homepage for WWPA Championships by clicking here.
UCSD concluded WWPA play 4-0 after beating Cal State San Bernardino, 16-6, last Friday night at Canyonview Aquatic Center. UCSD was led by four scores from Sarah Lizotte and two apiece from Julia Kirkland, Melissa Bartow, Nicole Gerwin and Lauren Boyer. Alexsee Wilcox recorded nine saves in the cage for UCSD.
LIZOTTE EARNS FOURTH CAREER WWPA HONOR
Sarah Lizotte was named the WWPA Player of the Week for the week of Mar. 31-Apr. 6. The senior powered UCSD to a 4-0 weekend that included three wins over WWPA foes Sonoma State, Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay. The final victory came against non-conference opponent Pacific. Lizotte totaled 13 goals and eight assists in the four wins. The Riverside native led off the weekend with a two-goal performance against Sonoma State before recording a hat trick, along with three assists, against CSUMB. She followed with four goals and an assist against CSUEB. In the final win against Pacific, Lizotte totaled four goals and dished out four assists in the 13-11 win.
GUILIANA GARNERS CONFERENCE AWARD
Jolene Guiliana was named the WWPA Player of the Week for the week of Mar. 13. The Irvine native totaled nine goals and five assists in four games for UCSD. In a 16-1 win over Occidental, Guiliana totaled a hat trick of goals to go along with three dimes. She followed with a career-high five goals and an assist in a win against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 18-9. The following day, the junior scored a pair of goals and dished out a helper in an 11-6 victory over Pomona-Pitzer. It marked the first such honor of her career.
COURTNEY IN THE CAGE
Courtney Miller was named the Kap7/Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 24. The sophomore from Honolulu, HI led No. 11 UCSD to an upset of No. 6 Hawaii at the UCI Invitational. Miller finished with 63 saves at the four game Invitational and recorded double-digit blocks in each game. Miller recorded a career-high 20 saves in the 10-9 sudden death victory over Hawaii in the opener. She followed with a 13-save performance against No. 3 UCLA in an 8-6 loss. Miller finished out the Invitational with 13 blocks against No. 7 Arizona State and 17 saves against No. 10 CSU Northridge.
LIZOTTE NAMED FEBRUARY STAR OF THE MONTH
Sarah Lizotte was named a San Diego Hall of Champions Star of the Month for February. Lizotte totaled 27 goals in February with nine multi-goal efforts, as the Triton women’s water polo team picked up seven wins, including five over top-20 squads. During the Triton Invitational on Feb. 8-9, the product of Riverside (Riverside Poly HS) broke UCSD's career scoring and assists records in front of the home crowd at Canyonview Aquatic Center as well. The San Diego Hall of Champions honors outstanding athletes from San Diego, as well as athletes who have achieved stardom for local teams.
Sarah Lizotte broke the UCSD all-time career scoring and assists records at the Triton Invitational on Feb. 8-9. The senior has scored 302 career goals to pass Triton Hall of Fame member, Olympian and former captain of the U.S. National Water Polo team Julie Swail's record of 245. Lizotte also passed Jamie Dailey's mark of 125 assists to put her total at 167. She also currently holds the UCSD single-season record for goals (92), attempts (228) and assists (67). Check out the U-T San Diego’s piece on her accomplishments by clicking here.
WWPA PRESEASON POLL
UCSD has been slated to finish first in the 2014 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) standings according to the league’s annual preseason coaches’ poll. The defending WWPA champion Tritons were a unanimous pick to reclaim the title in 2014 after garnering the maximum 16 points, including four first-place votes. Sonoma State was picked second and earned 12 points, while Cal State East Bay followed with 11 points in third. The Pioneers also received the final first-place vote. Rounding out the standings, Cal State Monterey Bay (6) was fourth and Cal State San Bernardino (5) was picked fifth.
PLENTY OF TALENT RETURNING
The Tritons return many key players for the 2014 campaign, highlighted by Sarah Lizotte. The senior from Riverside was named the 2013 NCAA Division II Player of the Year by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPAC), Division II All-American First Team, Division I All-American Honorable Mention, WWPA Player of the Year and All-WWPA First Team after scoring 92 goals and dishing out 67 assists, both single-season UCSD records. The Tritons also return sophomore Courtney Miller in the cage, who was named All-American First Team and All-WWPA First Team after setting the school single-season record for saves at 317. UCSD also returns senior Melissa Bartow (All-American First Team, All-WWPA First Team), sophomore Alexis Wieseler (All-American Second Team, All-WWPA Honorable Mention), senior Leah Gonzales, junior Jolene Guiliana and sophomore Julia Kirkland.
The Tritons have reached as high as No. 6 in the national rankings in 2014 ... The Tritons are outscoring opponents 106-58 in the opening quarter … UCSD is currently shooting .416 as a team … The Tritons have converted 96 six-on-five advantages compared to the opponents 77 … Sarah Lizotte has scored 302 career goals, good for first in school history to break Julie Swail’s record of 245. Lizotte also sits in first with 167 assists to pass Jamie Dailey’s mark of 125. She also currently holds the UCSD single-season record for goals (92), attempts (228) and assists (67) … Melissa Bartow has drawn 268 ejections in her career, which marks the UCSD all-time career record. Bartow is currently the UCSD all-time career leader in penalties drawn (39) as well. She has drawn 10 penalties in 2014, good for fifth on the all-time single season list … Courtney Miller holds the UCSD single-season record of saves (374) and sits in fourth in career saves with 661. She has 291 blocks on the year, which puts her in third on the all-time single season list. She recorded a career-high 20 saves against Hawaii (2/22) … Jolene Guiliana also shares the UCSD single-season assists record (67) with Lizotte, and sits in sixth (65) on the single-season steals list … Alexis Wieseler sits in seventh on the UCSD single-season goals list (72) … The Tritons sport 21 California natives on their roster, with Courtney Miller (Honolulu, HI), Lauren Boyer (Honolulu, HI) and Nicole Gerwin (British Columbia, Canada) the three players from out of state.
HEAD COACH BRAD KREUTZKAMP
UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp is in his fifth season leading the Tritons. He has compiled a career record of 106-78, with a winning percentage of .575. In his four seasons at the helm, Kreutzkamp has led UCSD to a pair of Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championships and two appearances at the NCAA Championship. In his fourth season, Kreutzkamp led UCSD to an NCAA Championship berth after knocking off Loyola Marymount, 10-8, in the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) title game. The 12th-ranked Tritons finished a program-best sixth place at NCAA Championship and closed the season with a 26-15 overall mark, recording the most wins since the 1994 national championship squad went 28-2. He was honored as the Division II Coach of the Year by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) and was also named WWPA Coach of the Year. In 2012, Kreutzkamp led the Tritons to their most wins since 2003 in his third season at the helm. UCSD finished 21-14 overall and narrowly missed their second straight trip to the NCAA Championship. He guided the Tritons to an 18-20 overall record in 2011, leading the Tritons to their first WWPA title since 2000 and the school’s first appearance at the NCAA Championship in program history. Kreutzkamp came to UCSD as an assistant coach with the women’s team in 1999 before joining longtime head coach Denny Harper on the men’s staff the following season. Prior to his arrival on the La Jolla campus, Kreutzkamp was the head coach of both the boys and girls varsity programs at Grossmont High School from 1996-99.
ABOUT THE AZTECS
San Diego State, ranked No. 19 in the nation, enters with a 22-10 overall record and a mark of 6-0 in the Golden Coast Conference. The Aztecs clinched the GCC regular-season title outright with a 9-5 win over Azusa Pacific Wednesday. SDSU has won nine of its last 10 games, with the lone loss coming to No. 1 Stanford on March 24. The Aztecs bring a balanced scoring attack to the table as four players have scored 40 or more goals: Ioli Benekou (53), Anique Hermann (47), Caroline Israels (41) and Alyssa Diacono (41). Goalkeeper Rachel Mitchell, who posts a 6.91 goals against average and has totaled 253 saves on the season spearheads the defense. The head coach of SDSU, in her 16th season, is Carin Crawford.
San Diego State holds a 31-13 all-time series record against UC San Diego. The Aztecs also sport a perfect 12-0 record against the Tritons in the Harper Cup. UCSD fell in the Harper Cup last season at Aztec Aquaplex, 6-4. Overall, SDSU has won the previous 21 meetings, which dates back to Feb. 10, 2002.
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UCSD hosts the WWPA Championship next week at Canyonview Aquatic Center on Apr. 25-27. After completing a perfect 4-0 record in conference play, the Tritons earned the No. 1 seed and will have a first-round bye. UCSD will play its first game at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 26 at Canyonview.