UC SAN DIEGO VITALS
National Rank: 12th (CWPA)
WWPA Standing: 1st of 8
WATCH LIVE ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
All WWPA Championship contests will be streamed live at UCSDtritons.tv, free of charge, with Seth Smith calling the action from Canyonview Aquatic Center. No login is required. All matches will also have live stats, also for free, courtesy of The FOSH. Links can be accessed here.
ROAD TO THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
After completing conference play with a perfect 4-0 record, the top-seeded and five-time reigning champion Tritons begin Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championship play on Friday, April 27, against No. 8-seed McKendree beginning at 11 a.m. (PT). The championship game will be played on Sunday, April 29, at 1 p.m. (PT), with the winner heading to the NCAA Championship on May 11-13, in Los Angeles. UC San Diego is attempting to reach the championship for the seventh time in the last eight years, previously competing in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The best finish was in 2013, as the Tritons took sixth place. The NCAA selection show can be viewed live at NCAA.com on Monday, April 30, beginning at 5 p.m. PT.
1. UC San Diego: 4-0, 20-11
2. Mercyhurst: 4-0, 13-5
3. Cal State East Bay: 6-1, 16-8
4. Fresno Pacific: 3-3, 9-16
5. Gannon: 2-2, 7-9
6. Sonoma State: 2-4, 6-17
7. McKendree: 0-4, 8-14
8. Cal State Monterey Bay: 0-7, 4-19
WWPA PREVIOUS CHAMPIONS
2017 - UC San Diego
2016 - UC San Diego
2015 - UC San Diego
2014 - UC San Diego
2013 - UC San Diego
2012 - Loyola Marymount
2011 - UC San Diego
2010 - Loyola Marymount
2009 - Loyola Marymount
2008 - UC Davis
2007 - Loyola Marymount
2006 - UC Davis
2005 - Loyola Marymount
2004 - Loyola Marymount
2003 - Loyola Marymount
2002 - Loyola Marymount
2001 - Loyola Marymount
The Tritons, ranked No. 12 in the latest Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) poll, have a 21-11 overall record heading into the WWPA Championship with a perfect 4-0 mark in conference play ... The Tritons have earned 11 victories over ranked opponents this season and have won 12 of their last 14 games overall ... The Tritons are led by senior Kayla Fedler, who has a team-high 56 points on 43 goals with 13 assists ... Freshman Taylor Onstott ranks second on the team with 55 points on 37 goals and 18 assists, while sophomore Krista Schneider ranks second on the team with 54 points on 14 goals and a team-best 40 assists ... Junior Chanel Schilling leads the team with 36 exclusions drawn, freshman Ciara Franke has a team-high 60 steals and sophomore goalkeeper Reilly Gallagher has racked up 131 saves.
SEVEN TRITONS EARN ALL-WWPA HONORS
UC San Diego had seven players named All-WWPA, including first-team selections Chanel Schilling, fellow junior Krista Schneider and sophomore Reilly Gallagher. Senior Kayla Fedler and freshman Taylor Onstott each earned second-team accolades, while freshman Grace Pevehouse gained honorable mention. In addition, Onstott was named WWPA Newcomer of the Year and landed on the All-Freshman Team, along with Ciara Franke.
HARPER CUP REMAINS IN LA JOLLA
Freshman Ciara Franke recorded two goals in the second half, while junior Shelby Stender scored the game-winning goal off an assist from senior Kayla Fedler with 1:38 remaining, to lift No. 12-ranked UC San Diego to a victory over No. 21 San Diego State, 6-5, to claim the Harper Cup for a third straight year. The Tritons trailed by one at halftime and were behind 3-1 late in the third quarter before pulling off the thrilling comeback. Franke earned Harper Cup MVP honors, finishing with a game-high four steals in addition to two goals scored. It was the fourth time that UC San Diego has lifted the cup, all coming in the past five years.
WHO'S BACK, WHO'S NOT
The 2018 Triton roster boasts 15 returners, including four All-WWPA honorees in sophomore utility Jessee Ransone, sophomore goalkeeper Reilly Gallagher, junior center Chanel Schilling and junior attacker Krista Schneider. Ransone, selected to the WWPA All-Freshman Team, tied a team-high with 29 assists as a true freshman, along with 12 goals and 33 steals. Gallagher, an All-WWPA second-team selection, started all 34 games in the cage with 205 saves, 12 steals and 22 assists. Schilling, an ACWPC All-America and All-WWPA Second Team selection, recorded 36 goals, 17 assists and 18 steals while leading the Tritons with 14 penalties drawn and 71 ejections drawn. Schneider, an All-WWPA honorable mention, led UC San Diego with 46 assists to go with 23 goals and 51 steals.
The Tritons have big shoes to fill after losing six seniors to graduation, including 2017 WWPA Player of the Year Lauren Boyer and first-team All-WWPA selection Alexis Wieseler. UC San Diego also lost Hanna Schneider, Connie Wu and Rachel Emami, and WWPA honorable mention Lani Tittle, each of whom left the program with four WWPA titles and four NCAA Championship appearances.
The Tritons are coming off a 19-15 season and their fifth straight WWPA title in 2017. UC San Diego also hosted an opening-round National Collegiate Water Polo Championship game for the fourth year in a row.
ABOUT THE BEARCATS
McKendree is 8-14 overall this season and 0-4 in WWPA play. The Bearcats enter Friday's contest after dropping four of their last five games, including two losses apiece to conference foes Mercyhurst and Gannon. McKendree freshman Emily Westlove earned All-WWPA Second Team honors and was named to the all-freshman team.
UC San Diego has never faced McKendree.
TRITONS PICKED FIRST IN WWPA COACHES' POLL
The UC San Diego women's water polo team was favored to capture the 2018 WWPA title according to a preseason poll of the league's coaches. It is the sixth straight year and the seventh time in the last eight seasons UC San Diego has earned the top spot in the poll.
2018 WWPA Women's Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. UC San Diego, 49 points (7 first-place votes)
2. Cal State East Bay, 42 (1)
3. Sonoma State, 37
4. Fresno Pacific, 27
5. Cal State Monterey Bay, 26
6. Mercyhurst, 21
T-7. Gannon, 11
T-7. McKendree, 11
HEAD COACH BRAD KREUTZKAMP CLIMBS ALL-TIME WINS LIST
Head coach Brad Kreutzkamp is in his ninth season at the helm, and ranks second all-time in victories in UC San Diego women's water polo history with a record of 197-139 (.586). Kreutzkamp recently passed former head coach Larry Sanders' total of 180 wins amassed during his tenure from 2000-09. A four-time ACWPC Coach of the Year, Kreutzkamp has led the Tritons to five WWPA championships and five NCAA Championship appearances in his seven seasons. Last season, the Tritons captured their fifth straight WWPA title and sixth overall under Kreutzkamp's leadership, lifting UC San Diego to its sixth NCAA appearance. Kreutzkamp came to UC San Diego 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 boy's and girl's varsity programs at Grossmont High School from 1996-99.
BIG (WEST) NEWS FOR UC SAN DIEGO ATHLETICS
On Nov. 27, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons will begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020 and will play a full Big West schedule. However, UC San Diego women's water polo joins the Big West Conference one year early in the fall of 2019. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I championships. Read the full press release here.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UC San Diego Athletics' online partner, Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UC San Diego home athletic events, and much more!
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Following this weekend's WWPA Championship, the Tritons await their NCAA tournament fate with the selection show set for April 30, beginning at 5 p.m. PT.