Tournament Seeds To Be Finalized This Week
Files associated with this release:
12_WWP Release No. 13
The top three seeds in order – UC Irvine, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara – have been determined for the 2012 Big West Women's Water Polo Tournament at Schaal Aquatics Center from April 27-29. The last three seeds will be known upon the completion of Thursday's Long Beach State at UC Irvine match. An Anteater victory gives them an undefeated conference ledger for the second straight year.
Seeds Taking Shape For Big West Tournament
Conference unbeaten UC Irvine enters next week’s Big West Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the second straight year. The Anteaters look to claim their fourth conference tournament title in as many years when action begins on Friday, April 27 at the Ted & Rand Schaal Aquatics Center on the UC Davis campus.
The Anteaters (21-6, 4-0) have already wrapped up at least a share of the Big West regular season title. They can win the title outright when rival Long Beach State visits Anteater Aquatics Complex for a 7:00 p.m. showdown on Thursday. A victory secures an undefeated conference season for the Anteaters for the second year in a row. UCI has won 12 straight regular season Big West contests dating back to the 2010 season. UCI last lost a conference match on Apr. 3, 2010 at UC Santa Barbara.
UC Davis (16-12, 4-1), the host school for the 2012 Big West Tournament, enters as the No. 2 seed. It matches the 2009 squad for the highest tournament seed by an Aggie team. The Aggies were seeded No. 5 in each of the last two years. UCD locked down the second seed thanks to a pair of home victories last week against No. 15 UC Santa Barbara and No. 18 UC Santa Barbara. The Aggies have peaked at the right time with victories in 11 of their last 12 matches, the only setback coming at UC Irvine (10-4) on Apr. 7.
In the No. 3 slot is UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos are 19-13 overall and 3-2 in Big West play, and could have sewed up the No. 2 seed themselves but dropped a 9-8 heartbreaker at UC Davis last Saturday. The top two seeds receive byes into the semifinals and need only two wins to be declared champion. The bottom four seeds must win three times in three days to win the title. UCSB is in the midst of a near two-week layoff from competition. The Gauchos need only one win in the tournament to register a 20-win season for the first time since the Big West established women’s water polo as a sponsored sport in 2009, as well as the first in head coach Cathy Neushul’s first year at the helm.
The No. 4 through No. 6 seeds are up for grabs. Long Beach State needs to spring an upset of UCI on Thursday to clinch the No. 4 seed. Pacific would be No. 5 and Cal State Northidge No. 6 with the Tigers holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Matadors. However, a 49er loss means that CSUN would grab the No. 4 seed followed by LBSU at No. 5 and Pacific at No. 6. In that scenario, CSUN, LBSU and Pacific all finish 1-4 in conference play, but the Matadors win the tiebreaker based on the best goal differential (+3) in conference games against the other tied teams. LBSU’s win over Pacific gives the 49ers the higher seed based on the two-way tiebreaker.
UC Irvine has held strong at No. 6 in the Collegiate Women’s Water Polo Association poll for six straight weeks. The No. 6 ranking is UCI’s highest and the highest ranking by a Big West program since the conference began sponsoring the sport in 2009. The Anteaters attained a school record national ranking of No. 5 in 2007.
UC Davis is the next highest Big West team in the polls at No. 11, followed by No. 15 UC Santa Barbara and No. 19 Cal State Northridge. The Big West has had at least four teams ranked in the CWPA top 20 in every week of the poll since 2009.
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.