LOS ANGELES, California, May 6. THE NCAA Women’s Water Polo Tournament, set for this weekend, will feature six strong teams from the state of California and rising squads from Arizona and Indiana.
The eight-team championship field was finalized on Saturday at the NCAA Play-In tournament, where four teams battled for two spots in the championship bracket. Indiana defeated Wagner 11-6 to earn its third-ever NCAA appearance, while UC-San Diego beat Pomona-Pitzer 13-9 to earn the final spot in the bracket.
Ten teams were picked by the NCAA for the championship tournament. The top six seeds — Stanford, UCLA, Southern California, California, Arizona State and UC-Irvine — were automatically placed in the tournament bracket. The remaining four seeds — UC-San Diego, Indiana, Wagner and Pomona-Pitzer — had to play against each other for the other two spots.
This weekend will mark the first NCAA tournament appearance for Arizona State in women’s water polo. Indiana last played in the women’s water polo national championship tournament in 2011, finishing sixth. Like Indiana, UC-Irvine, UC-San Diego and California are each attending their third NCAA tournament.
The remaining teams are seasoned national championship veterans. Southern California, UCLA and Stanford are the only teams to win the women’s NCAA title since 2001.
Championship tournament host Southern California is the defending champion, and will face off against UC-Irvine in Friday’s quarterfinal match. Stanford, which has been ranked No. 1 for most of the season, will play against Indiana on Friday.
UCLA will face UC-San Diego in the quarterfinals, while California will play against Arizona State to round out the Friday matches.
The winners of each single-elimination game will compete in the semifinals on Saturday. The championship game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Pacific time Sunday. All matches will be streamed live on ncaa.com, and tickets are available here.