Women's Water Polo Action Continues With Two Tournaments
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11_WWP Release No. 2
Four Big West schools compete in the UCSB Winter Invite or Spartan Invitational as the women's water polo season warms up. Defending conference tournament champion UC Irvine, ranked No. 10 nationally, is one of nine squads competing in the Winter Invite.
Two Tournaments On Tap This Week
Four Big West teams compete in two tournaments in this week's women's water polo schedule. UC Santa Barbara, off to a 3-0 start, hosts its own UCSB Winter Invite with fellow member UC Irvine in the nine-team field. UC Davis and Pacific head to the Bay Area to participate in San Jose State's Spartan Invitational.
The Gauchos recorded victories against Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State East Bay and Sonoma State last week. They welcome No. 7 Michigan and Concordia (Calif.) to Campus Pool for single matches on Friday before beginning tournament action. The two-time defending Big West Tournament champion Anteaters open against Concordia (Calif.) and Michigan on Saturday, then meet Vanguard and UCSB to close out competition on Sunday. The Gauchos play four straight ranked foes in the tournament, including No. 20 Cal State Bakersfield, No. 11 San Diego State, No. 18 UC San Diego and the tenth-ranked Anteaters.
The six-team Spartan Invitational features four ranked opponents, including No. 16 UC Davis, No. 19 Pacific, No. 3 California and No. 9 San Jose State. The Aggies started their season auspiciously with a 13-3 triumph over No. 20 Cal State Bakersfield last week. The Tigers, which finished with a school record 23 wins in 2010, open this year's campaign with the Bears.
Long Beach State travels to No. 4 UCLA for its season opener on Saturday.
UC Irvine Rises To No. 10 In Poll
UC Irvine moved up one spot to No. 10 in this week's Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) poll. The Anteaters are the highest ranked Big West squad in the poll. The Anteaters finished 15-14 in 2010 and return All-Big West First Team performers Jessy Cardey and Cortney Collyer to the pool. Cardey earned 2010 Big West Freshman of the Year honors as well.
The Anteaters are followed in the poll by No. 12 UC Santa Barbara, No. 13 Cal State Northridge, No. 16 UC Davis and No. 18 Pacific. The Matadors, which are idle this week, crept up two spots after a 1-3 week at the Michigan Invitational that included a win against nationally ranked Indiana.
Big West Owns Automatic Qualification To NCAA Championship
The Big West fulfilled a two-year waiting period to earn automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship, meaning the winner of this year’s conference tournament will receive one of eight slots in the national tournament. The third annual Big West Tournament is set for April 29-May 1 in Santa Barbara.