2019 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Tournament Bracket Announced

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Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center will host the 2019 NCAA Women's Water Polo Tournament from May 7 - 12. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

Seeding and dates for the 2019 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Tournament, to be held May 7 – 12 at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center, were announced Monday night on the NCAA website.

2019-ncaa-wwp-logo-apr19On Tuesday, May 7, two play-in games will take place in Avery. At 12 p.m. PST Wagner College (30-9)—currently ranked #19 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Varsity Women’s Poll—will face #14 UC San Diego (21-13). The Seahawks, representing the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) will look for a third-straight NCAA win over the Tritons, representing the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) for the seventh straight time. It is the last WWPA appearance for UCSD, which is moving to The Big West Conference next spring. The winner of this match will advance to the quarterfinals to face top-seed USC (26-1) on Friday, May 10 at 12 p.m. PST.

Last January at the UCSB Winter Invite, Wagner defeated UC San Diego 11-8.

Tuesday’s other play-in game, at 1:45 p.m. PST features Cal Lutheran (21-8), representing the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SCIAC) at NCAAs for the first time since 2010, taking on Pacific (17-8), back-to-back-to-back champions of the Golden Coast Conference (GCC). The Tigers of Pacific are ranked eighth in the latest CWPA poll; Cal Lutheran, which upset Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC title match, is currently unranked. The winner of this match will meet #2 seed and host Stanford at 3:30 p.m. on May 10. The last time these two teams met was 2013, when the Regals dropped an 11-6 decision to the Tigers.

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2019 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Tournament Bracket. Photo Courtesy: NCAA

The other quarterfinal matches on May 10 include Hawai’i (18-4) meeting California (16-8), the tournament’s fourth seed, at 1:45 p.m. PST, and Michigan (23-8) facing UCLA (23-6), the #3 seed, at 5:15 p.m. PST.

The Rainbow Wahine, ranked #5 in the country and representing The Big West, will be facing the fourth-ranked Golden Bears of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for the fourth time this season. Cal won the first two meeting but Hawai’i pulled off an upset last month at Duke Kahanamoku Aquatics Complex. The winner of this match advances to the semifinals on May 11 at 3 p.m. PST to face either USC or the winner of the Wagner vs. UCSD match.

Senior Irene Gonzalez of Hawai’i is chasing history as well as Cal; with 225 goals she is four behind Madeleine Sanchez, who graduated in 2018 from California State University at Northridge, for the all-time goal scoring mark in Big West history.

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Irene Gonzales of Hawai’i; one of the Big West’s best-ever. Photo Courtesy: Hawai’i Athletics

Michigan, representing the CWPA for the fourth-straight year, is ranked #6 in the country, lost to #3 UCLA—an at-large team from the MPSF—twice this season. The Bruins have qualified for the NCAA tournament every year since the inception of the NCAA format in 2001, and—with seven titles—are the winningest program in NCAA tournament history.

The winner of this match will face either Stanford or the Pacific vs. Cal Lutheran winner on May 11 at 5 p.m. PST.

If Stanford advances to Sunday’s national championship game on Sunday, May 12 at 3 p.m. PST, it will be the Cardinal’s tenth consecutive finals trip, and they will be seeking to equal UCLA’s total of seven titles.

If USC, the reigning NCAA title holder by virtue of a 5-4 win over Stanford in last year’s NCAA final, qualifies for Sunday’s final, it will be the program’s tenth national championship match appearance. USC has won five titles; no one besides the Bruins, Cardinals or Trojans has ever captured an NCAA women’s polo title, and the only time a non-MPSF team played in the final was in 2004, when Loyola Marymount dropped a 10-8 decision to USC.

Matches will be streamed through the NCAA website; check here for details.

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