UC Irvine Invitational Features 15 Nationally Ranked Squads
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11_WWP Release No. 6
The nation's top eight teams and 15 of the top 20 women's water polo squads will compete at the prestigious UC Irvine Invitational this weekend. The 10th-ranked Anteaters square off against No. 7 San Diego State in an opening round match on Saturday.
Nation’s Best Converges On UC Irvine Invitational
The best the nation has to offer descends on southern California as the UC Irvine Invitational takes place this weekend. Fifteen of the 16 teams in the field are ranked in the Collegiate Water Polo Association poll. The top eight teams in the poll, including current No. 1 Stanford will be in attendance. Each participant will play two matches on Saturday and two more on Sunday at the Anteater Aquatics Complex and Corona del Mar High School.
Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and the host Anteaters represent the Big West in the prestigious event. In the first matches of the tournament, UCI hosts No. 7 San Diego State, CSUN takes on No. 5 Hawai’i, LBSU battles No. 6 Loyola Marymount, UCD tackles No. 3 UCLA and UCSB grapples with No. 4 California.
The Anteaters are the highest ranked Big West team in the field, sitting at No. 10 in the CWPA poll.
Matadors With Three Of Top Four Scorers
Three of the top four goal scorers in the Big West reside at Cal State Northridge, including No. 1 scorer Whitney Delgado. The junior has scored 32 goals through 13 games for a 2.46 goals per game average. Senior Sydney Sonoda has notched 24 goals and junior Heidi Pettinger has netted 21.
All Six Big West Teams Remain Ranked
In addition to UC Irvine’s No. 10 ranking, the Collegiate Water Polo Association top 20 poll includes all Big West schools. Long Beach State retained its No. 12 ranking after coming close to an upset of No. 2 USC last week. Cal State Northridge follows at No. 13, while UC Santa Barbara stands at No. 15. UC Davis and Pacific round out the list of ranked Big West representatives at No. 17 and No. 19, respectively.
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.