UCSD (17-18) earned one of four automatic bids to the NCAA Championship by viritue of its 13-11 come-from-behind win over No. 8 Loyola Marymount in the Western Water Polo Association conference tournament title game on Sunday afternoon. Fifth-seed UC Irvine (21-8, Big West) and sixth-seed Indiana (25-11, College Water Polo Association) were the other two automatic qualifiers.
Stanford, UCLA and USC received at-large bids to this year's NCAA Championship. Stanford (25-1) received the tournament's overall top seed, even after dropping it's only match of the season to the third-seed, UCLA (24-6), in the MPSF semifinals. Stanford will play the winner of Iona (MAAC) and Redlands (SCIAC), who have a play-in game on May 7 to determine the eighth-seed. (Note: Iona defeated Redlands on May 7, 13-7, to earn the final berth into the Championship)
UCSD is 11-7 all-time against Cal. The Bears took down the Tritons in the most recent contest between the two squads, 17-5, on April 11, 2010. Cal has won 12 of its last 13 contests.
UCSD is currently on a three-match winning streak thanks to victories over Cal State Bakersfield, Santa Clara and LMU at the WWPA Championships. Hanalei Crowell earned Most Valuable Tournament Honors, while she, Kirsten Bates and Sarah Lizotte earned First Team All-Tournament honors. Natalie Peng was placed on the Second Team.
Opening Round, May 13:
(2) Cal vs. (7) UCSD, 12:00 p.m.
(3) UCLA vs. (6) Indiana, 1:30 p.m.
(1) Stanford vs. (8) Iona, 3:00 p.m.
(4) USC vs. (5) UC Irvine, 4:30 p.m.
For complete tournament bracket and schedule, click here.