The 11th women's water polo season kicks off this weekend as five of the league's six clubs will be in action against quality competition.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
Home Tournaments Dot Opening Weekend
UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis will welcome squads to campus for tournament play to open the 2019 campaign. The Gauchos host the UCSB Winter Invite, while the UCD will hold the Aggie Invite. Both teams will have their hands full as UCLA, Indiana, Cal Baptist and Wagner are among those in the field at UCSB, while regional rivals San Jose State and Santa Clara highlight the field in Davis.
Preseason National Ranks
The Collegiate Water Polo Association is expecting big things from the Big West this year as the preseason poll lists all conference schools in the top 18. Defending regular season champion Hawai’i is joined by defending Tournament champion UC Irvine at #6, the highest ranked Big West schools. UC Davis checks in at #10 with Long Beach State right behind them at #11. UC Santa Barbara at #17 and CSUN at #18 round out the national preseason poll.
The Return of Mary Brooks
After redshirting a year ago, UC Irvine’s Mary Brooks returns to the Anteater lineup ready to add more goals to her ledger. Brooks has 157 career goals, eighth most in program history and 23 shy of cracking the league’s all-time top 10. The two-time Big West Player of the Year was a second team All-American in 2017, a season that saw her record 66 goals and Big West Tournament MVP honors.
Irene The Scorer
The reigning Big West Player of the Year also returns to the fold in Hawai’i’s Irene Gonzalez. A year ago Gonzalez recorded a team-best 53 goals and tied for the team lead with 36 assists. The senior is also a three-time ACWPC All-America and All-Big West selection.
CSUN lost the all-time leading scorer in program and Big West history but added an impact transfer who is ready to contribute. Junior Tori Wilson comes to the Valley by way of Hartwick where she scored 134 career goals. A year ago Wilson was unstoppable on the offensive end, scoring 85 goals to go along with 58 assists.