Women's Water Polo Teams Battle For Tournament Seeding Position
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12_WWP Release No. 12
With UC Irvine having already wrapped up the top seed for the Big West Women's Water Polo Tournament, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara are grappling for the No. 2 seed and the coveted bye into the semifinals. The Aggies or Gauchos would lock down the No. 2 seed with a pair of wins this week.
Anteaters Claim No. 1 Tournament Seed And Share Of Regular Season Title
UC Irvine secured the No. 1 seed in the Big West Women’s Water Polo Tournament later this month with two convincing victories last week against UC Davis (10-4) and Pacific (14-2). The Anteaters stretched their winning streak to nine straight games while improving to 21-5 overall and 4-0 in Big West play. With one league match remaining – April 19 at home versus Long Beach State – the Anteaters can finish no worse than in a tie for the regular season title.
A win against the 49ers next week would clinch UCI’s second straight undefeated conference season in addition to the outright title. UCI has won 12 straight regular season Big West matches dating back to the 2010 season. The Anteaters last lost a conference match on Apr. 3, 2010 at UC Santa Barbara.
UCI takes a break from Big West action this week with a doozy of a non-conference challenge in No. 2 UCLA, which visits Anteater Aquatics Complex on Saturday for a 1:00 p.m. tilt. The Anteaters, who have been ranked No. 6 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association poll for five straight weeks, look to knock off their highest ranked opponent yet in a season full of challenges. UCI, winners of 12 of its last 14 contests, is 13-5 against top 20 teams this season. The only two losses during that 14-game stretch came at the hands of No. 4 California and No. 2 Stanford.
UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis Lock Horns In Battle For No. 2 Tournament Seed
While UC Irvine is idle in Big West play, the rest of the league engages in battles to determine seeding position for the conference tournament. This year’s event takes place on the UC Davis campus and runs Apr. 27-29 at the Ted & Rand Schaal Aquatics Center.
The featured matchup appears to be Saturday’s UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis encounter in a battle of 2-1 conference clubs. The winner will take hold of sole possession of second place and would be in prime position to clinch the No. 2 seed in the tournament with a win in Sunday’s conference finale. The Gauchos travel to Pacific while the Aggies host Cal State Northridge on Sunday.
UCD has won nine of its last 10 games with its only setback coming to No. 6 UC Irvine. The Aggies finish out the regular season with three straight home games – UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge and San Jose State – and continue the home cooking with the tournament host role.
The importance of landing the No. 2 seed cannot be understated as the top two seeds receive byes into the semifinals and need only two wins to become Big West champion. The bottom four seeds must win three times in three days to claim the title.
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.