UC Santa Barbara Hosts Winter Invite This Weekend
Files associated with this release:
12_WWP Release No. 1
UC Santa Barbara welcomes Big West brethren Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine as well as six other women's water polo clubs to its Winter Invite this week.
Big West Women’s Water Polo Begins In Earnest This Week
The fourth season of Big West women’s water polo is underway and tournament action is the focus of the schedules. Three schools dove into action last week as UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific competed at the Spartan Invitational hosted by San Jose State. The Aggies handed the Gauchos a 12-8 loss in the only matchup between two Big West squads at the tournament.
In this week’s contests, two more schools join the fray as Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine see their first action of the 2012 campaign. Both teams travel to the nine-team UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite. In addition to the trio of Big West representatives, non-conference foes include Sonoma State, Cal State Bakersfield, No. 7 Arizona State and No. 10 Indiana.
UC Irvine, the defending Big West regular season and tournament champions, opens the season with a tough matchup against Arizona State. The Anteaters finished 23-9 overall and were the first team in Big West history to maneuver through conference play with an unblemished record. UCI entered the Big West Tournament as the No. 1 seed and confirmed the top billing with a dominating run, outscoring its two opponents 26-14 to earn the crown and clinch the conference’s first-ever automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Anteaters fared well at the NCAA’s as the fifth seed, defeating Iona (15-4) and Indiana (12-8) following a close loss to USC (14-9) in the opening round.
The only other team in action this week is UC Davis. The Aggies face a pair of formidable challenges at the Cal Invitational on Saturday. UCD draws No. 5 San Jose State in the morning before squaring off against top-ranked Stanford in the afternoon.
Pacific is idle this week, while Long Beach State does not see its first action until next weekend in a home tussle with San Diego State.
Five Teams Ranked In CWPA Poll
The Big West is well represented in the first regular season Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) poll as five schools are listed among the top 20. UC Irvine, which returns two first-team all-conference standouts in junior Jessy Cardey and sophomore Danielle Warde, is ranked No. 7 in the poll. Cardey was the 2011 Big West Player of the Year and Warde earned 2011 Big West Freshman of the Year accolades.
The Anteaters are followed in the poll by No. 15 UC Davis, No. 16 Long Beach State, No. 17 UC Santa Barbara and No. 19 Cal State Northridge. Pacific is receiving votes in the poll.
In addition to the two first-team returners from UC Irvine, there are four returning players from the second team, including the UC Davis trio of senior Dakotah Mohr and juniors Jessica Dunn and Carmen Eggert. UC Santa Barbara junior Ruth Milne also was an All-Big West Second Team performer.
Big West In NCAA Championship
The Big West received an automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship for the first time in league history in 2011. Once again, the Big West Tournament champion will earn one of nine slots for the 2012 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championship, which will be played May 11-13 at the Aztec Aquaplex in San Diego, Calif. Host San Diego State will become an official member of the Big West in 2013.