UC Irvine will be the epicenter of Big West Women's Water Polo this weekend as the conference Tournament begins Friday. All six clubs will compete in the annual season-ending tourney, looking to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament next week in Los Angeles.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
UC IRVINE PLAYS HOST
The Big West Tournament returns to Orange County this weekend as UC Irvine hosts the festivities. The Anteaters last hosted the tourney in 2013 but hosting duties were not kind to the club. The squad fell in the championship game to Hawai’i, the club it split the regular season title with. UCI had won the first four Big West Tournaments prior to that loss, but still own a record six titles in nine years.
HAWAI’I CLAIMS OUTRIGHT CROWN
Hawai’i won a pair of conference games last weekend to end league play at 5-0 and earning it the outright regular season title. This marks the first time that the ‘Bows have earned the outright regular season championship and earned them the top seed at next week’s Big West Tournament. The only other time that UH was the top seed at the league tourney, it won the 2013 event at UC Irvine. This year’s host? UC Irvine.
QUEEN OF THE GOALS
CSUN senior Madeleine Sanchez reached the mountain top in the scoring category, becoming the all-time leading scorer in Big West history. Sanchez scored three goals against Hawai’i to push her career total to 226, passing former UCI scorer Jessy Cardey who tallied 224 from 2011-14.
AGGIES EARN SECOND SEED
UC Davis claimed second place in the Big West to notch the #2 seed in the Big West Tournament. This marks the first time since 2012 that the Aggies have earned the second slot. That season UCD made it to the championship game of the Tournament, falling to UC Irvine.
With one week left in the regular season, a couple of Big West teams have moved around in the rankings. Hawai’i leads the way at #5, while UC Irvine and UC Davis flip-flopped from last week to rank ninth and eighth, respectively. Long Beach State moved up one spot to #16 with UC Santa Barbara right behind them at #17. CSUN moved up to #19 to complete Big West representation in the final poll of the regular season.
This season has seen a pair of coaches reach career milestones. UC Irvine’s Dan Klatt became the first coach in league history to reach the 200 win plateau when the Anteaters downed CSUN in conference action. UCI was also involved in the other coaching milestone in a loss to Hawai’i. The Rainbow Wahine victory gave coach Maureen Cole win No. 100 for her career.