Past and Future Collide: Tritons Set for Final Season in WWPA
LA JOLLA, Calif. — The University of California San Diego women’s water polo team takes its farewell tour in 2019 while looking toward the future at the same time.
UC San Diego, winner of six-consecutive Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) championships en route to six-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, embarks on its final season as a member of the WWPA before becoming a member of the Big West Conference in the spring of 2020.
Although excited for what lies ahead, the Tritons will cherish their final season against long-time conference rivals.
UC San Diego is one of the founding schools of the WWPA, which began women’s water polo in 2001. To conclude its time as a member of the conference, the Tritons hit the road to face all three Northern California rivals — Cal State Monterey Bay (April 5), Cal State East Bay (April 6) and Sonoma State (April 7) — on consecutive days.
UC San Diego will then join the seven other conference members at the WWPA Championships at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio on April 26-28.
“(The WWPA) means something to us,” said Tritons ninth-year head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. “We’re excited to visit the three Northern California schools for the last time as conference opponents, then meeting with all the WWPA teams in Ohio is a cool way to go out.”
In all, UC San Diego has a home slate featuring five home contests at Canyonview Aquatic Center, in addition to the 16-team Triton Invitational on Feb. 9-10.
Highlighting its home schedule are matches against future conference foes Hawai’i on Feb. 3 and UC Irvine on April 12.
“UC Irvine has been great with scheduling a home-and-home (series) with us every year, but getting Hawai’i here for a home game is a first for us,” said Kreutzkamp. “It certainly does add a Big West flavor to our schedule.”
The Triton Invitational, held simultaneously in both Triton Pool and Canyonview Pool, is an event Kreutzkamp looks forward to every season.
“With 16 teams all in one place, it feels like a college water polo festival,” said Kreutzkamp.
“I’m stoked that even though we’ll be leaving the (WWPA), we’ll still be able to host this tournament.
“I truly think it’s the premiere college water polo tournament because it’s all at one site.”
But of course, a UC San Diego season wouldn’t be complete without the annual Harper Cup rivalry GAME between the Tritons and San Diego State on April 20.
After winning last season’s matchup in La Jolla, and four of the last five overall, this year’s contest will be held at SDSU.
“We always have a big circle around the Harper Cup at San Diego State,” said Kreutzkamp. “Last year was a close game, so I know (SDSU) is looking forward to having us at their place. So we’ll be ready to go for that.”
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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