Unbeaten UCLA Remains Atop College Women’s Water Polo Poll; Stanford-Princeton Matchup Called Off

Princeton Team and coach Derek Ellingson

Unbeaten UCLA Remains Atop College Women’s Water Polo Poll; Hawaii Holds at No. 2

The Collegiate Water Polo Association poll for women’s varsity play has not seen much change these past few weeks, especially at the top. UCLA, Hawai’i, Stanford, Cal and USC have been in roughly the same spots for a month; only Fresno State—#3 two weeks ago—has moved, dropping to sixth. Change could be coming; #2 Hawai’i is playing #4 Cal this Sunday in Berkeley. 

[CWPA Week 7 Women’s Varsity Poll]

This week’s signature tournament is at San Diego State’s Aztec Aquaplex, with 11 teams, including #3 Stanford and #8 Princeton, playing 20 matches. Well, it was supposed to be 21, but a marquee match-up between the Cardinals and the Tigers was scrubbed because of scheduling issues. 

This led one passionate Princeton parent to suggest Stanford was ducking their team—which is both amazing and revealing. Amazing because we’re talking about nine-time NCAA champs Stanford—down FOUR players this year because they’re trying out for the U.S. Olympic team (and six current national team members played on The Farm). Revealing because Tiger faithful are feeling it! They made a Final Four last year and want to go back. Playing the defending champs during the regular season would have helped.

1) UCLA (15-0; MPSF 2-0); With the season half over, the Bruins have passed a number of tests, beating MPSF rivals Cal and Stanford in non-conference play. They’re already beaten MPSF foes Indiana—in a too-close-for-comfort 13-9 win last Saturday—and Arizona State (ditto; 12-10). Biola this weekend, then Princeton flies in next Saturday.

2) Hawai’i (11-2; 0-0 Big West); UCLA coach Adam Wright recently spoke about how teams want to beat the Bruins because they’re on top. The Rainbow Wahine will have to adjust to this; they are one of the nation’s best—so everyone is marking them on the schedule. UC-Davis and Cal this weekend; both teams will want to revenge earlier season losses.

Stanford Team and coach John Tanner

Courtesy: Stanford Athletics

3) Stanford (11-3; 1-0 MPSF); The Cardinal will be in San Diego this weekend for the Aztec Invitational. Matches against host San Diego State and Harvard are on; Stanford’s match against Princeton, the East’s top team, was canceled—apparently because lighting was not adequate for a 6:30pm ball drop.

4) California (8-3; 0-0 MPSF); Given that we’re talking about Stanford vs. Princeton, here’s the problem for the Golden Bears: this weekend they host an underachieving Pacific team followed by high-flying Hawai’i. A win against the visiting Wahine puts Cal second to UCLA; a loss solidifies Hawai’i’s presence at the top.

5) USC (12-3; 0-0 MPSF); Four wins against lesser opponents last weekend extends the Trojans win streak to six. Another win is in store for Head Coach Casey Moon; St. Francis PA (1-18) opens USC’s home schedule. Next week a trip to Honolulu for Hawai’i.

6) Fresno State (12-5; 0-0 GCC); The Bulldogs open Golden Coast play this weekend against Cal Baptist; conference play is everything for Fresno State and seven of their next eight matches are against GCC foes. 

7) UC-Irvine (10-8; 0-0 Big West); Anteaters open conference play this weekend when UC-San Diego comes to Irvine. Four dominant wins at the Claremont Convergence last weekend; looming for Head Coach Dan Klatt’s side is Hawai’i (in a month; no looking ahead).

8) Princeton (12-2; 6-0 CWPA); The Tigers are on a roll (12 straight) so now is either the best or worst time to go West for a spring break. Best – if Princeton takes matches against lower ranked opponents and are competitive against UCLA. Worst – their West Coast competition is not tough enough to ready the Tigers for a deep NCAA run. 

9) Michigan (14-7; 3-1 CWPA); The Wolverines came East for conference play; two wins—against Brown and Harvard—and a loss to host Princeton, who remain the team to beat in the East. Big Blue is off for two weeks.

10) Long Beach State (10-6; 0-0 Big West); UC-Santa Barbara hosts as The Beach open Big West play. 

11) Arizona State (18-4; 0-1 MPSF); Harvard comes to Tempe then two weeks off before a trip to play MPSF rival San Jose State.

12) Loyola Marymount (17-2; 0-0 GCC); Lions visit GCC foes Santa Clara and Pacific; the match against the Tigers could be a trap if LMU looks past an underachieving squad to a home game against Princeton.

13 (T) UC-Santa Barbara (12-8; 1-0 Big West); Tough loss in sudden death last weekend against San Jose State; this weekend Long Beach State comes to town for conference play.

13 (T) UC-San Diego (10-8; 1-0 Big West); Two non-conference wins and then a victory over Big West foe CSUN last week. Challenge ahead; a trip back to Irvine Friday—two weekends after a 1-3 performance at the Kalbus Invitational. 

13 (T) Indiana (14-3; 0-1); The Hoosiers’ losses—to USC. UCLA and UC-Santa Barbara—were by a combined nine goals. This weekend they travel to San Diego for four matches at the Aztec Invitational, the biggest of which is against Princeton.

16) UC-Davis (6-13; 0-1 Big West); The Aggies had a nice run of five wins in six starts snapped by a 7-5 loss to UC-Santa Barbara last weekend. On tap: Hawai’i, another Big West opponent, will travel this weekend to Davis. A huge test for Head Coach Kandace Waldthaler’s team.

17) San Jose State (7-7; 0-1 MPSF); The Spartans re-entered the top 20—after a couple of weeks on the outside—due to a sudden death win over UC-Santa Barbara. This weekend four matches in San Diego, including Princeton and UC-San Diego. 

18) Wagner (15-3; 1-0 MAAC); Seahawks have been off since the last weekend in February; will pick up play next weekend in Lexington, VA when they play three MAAC foe at Virginia Military Institute.

19) Harvard (9-6; 3-2 CWPA); The Crimson took two of three last weekend in Princeton against CWPA foes; the only blemish a 12-8 loss to Michigan. This weekend—and for all of next week—Harvard will be out West, starting with a match Friday against Arizona State and continuing with contests against host San Diego State and Stanford at the Aztec Invitational.

20) Brown (10-9; 2-3 CWPA); Tough weekend for the Bears in New Jersey, with losses to Michigan and host Princeton balanced by wins over St. Francis PA and Bucknell. Brown will follow fellow Ivy Leaguers Harvard and Princeton out West starting on March 23.


Pacific (10-6; 0-1 GCC); It’s been a tough year for the Tigers, and losses last weekend to Azusa Pacific and LIU dropped them out of the top 20. Pacific started this year ranked #16 but has dropped lower and lower. Cal this weekend and a stretch of GCC matchups in March, including Fresno State and LMU, will determine who the Tigers are.

San Diego State (10-7; 0-0 GCC); SDSU hosts the Aztec Invitational this weekend and faces some question about tournament scheduling; why would you put on your marquee matchup at night when your lighting is a problem? In the water, the Aztecs play five matches over three days; that’s a lot.

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