Busy Weekend of NCAA Men’s Water Polo Action Highlighted by Harvard Invitational

Harvard University is the site of great men's polo action this weekend. Photo Courtesy: M. Randazzo

CAMBRIDGE, MA. A number of key contests take place this weekend, with perhaps the biggest being a clash Sunday between Golden Coast Conference rivals #3 Pacific and #5 UC Santa Barbara. In the GCC preseason coaches poll, the Gauchos (15-4) were chosen as favorites for their first-ever title, and a trip to NCAAs for the first time since 1990. The Tigers (11-3) have stolen some of the early thunder of a UCSB that as recently as three weeks ago was the nation’s top team. Pacific may be particularly keyed up for this match after a 14-10 loss Friday to #2 UCLA.

The match will take place in Santa Barbara at noon (PST); live updates may be found here.

Pepperdine (16-5; 1-0 GCC), which last weekend beat Cal for the first time in 14 years, has a big match against USC Saturday in Los Angeles; the Waves already extended their winning streak to six, taking down GCC foe UC Irvine 14-10 on the road yesterday. Head Coach Terry Schroeder’s squad hasn’t beaten the Trojans (9-3) since 2005; a win at Uytengsu Aquatics Center would be another impressive accomplishment in what has been a great season for Pepperdine. That match is at 2 p.m. (PST) and is being live streamed here.


Balsasz Kosa (62 goals) is leading Pepperdine to big wins. Photo Courtesy: Minette Rubin

Harvard is hosting its annual invitational in Cambridge; eight other teams—Brown, Bucknell, George Washington, La Salle, MIT, Pomona-Pitzer, St. Francis Brooklyn and Wagner—have all traveled to Blodgett Pool in one of the most competitive tournaments in the East this season. On the line for the home team is a program-best win streak that has ballooned to 14-straight; the Crimson will be tested by a George Washington side (13-4; 4-1 MAWPC) that has just seen the return of Atakan Destici, their brilliant attacker. That match is at 11 a.m (PST) and—like all the competition at this year’s invite—is being broadcast by ESPN +.

The other challenging match-up on the weekend for Head Coach Ted Minnis’ squad (14-0; 5-0 NWPC) takes place Sunday at 8:45 a.m. (PST) against Bucknell (12-2; 5-1 MAWPC). The Bison boast Rade Joksimovic, who this weekend is sure to add to add to his impressive career total of 452 goals. Head Coach Jack McBride’s squad will face a dangerous St. Francis Brooklyn squad (13-5; 3-2 NWPC) Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. (PST).

[CWPA Top 20: Stanford, UCLA, Pacific, USC Remain on Top; #9 Harvard East’s Top Team]

On Sunday at 1:45 p.m. (PST) MIT (6-5; 1-4 NWPC), which has historically been one of the best DIII squads in the East, will face Pomona-Pitzer (12-7; 5-2 SCIAC) arguably the best DIII team in the country. This may be a preview of the half of the Final Four in the first-ever DIII National Championship, which will include two teams from each side of the country. The Sage Hens have won the last three SCIAC titles, which in years past has come with a berth in the national championship; it appears this year Head Coach Alex Rodriguez will likely have to choose the DIII path to a title.


Calm before the storm @ Blodgett.Photo Courtesy: M. Randazzo

Also of note: Cal Lutheran (10-7; 3-3 SCIAC) has a match at 11 a.m. (PST) Saturday against conference rival La Verne (7-12; 2-4 SCIAC). The Kingsmen, riding an eight-match winning streak, are fighting for a spot in their conference tournament. The top four teams from the SCIAC go to the postseason; in theory the top two will advance to the DIII Final Four. Head Coach Craig Rond is driving for this outcome—which would be inspirational for a program that has come out strong after overcoming tragedy. That match is being live streamed here.

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