Water Polo: Women’s Top 20 (Week Two) – USC Reigns Supreme With Big Action on Tap

Photo Courtesy: Hawaii Athletics

With two weeks of play in the books, the CWPA’s Varsity Women’s Water Polo poll has (mostly) taken shape. USC holds the top spot for the second consecutive week while Stanford, preseason No. 1, moves up a notch from seventh—the Cardinal’s lowest-ever poll position—into a tie with UC Irvine for sixth.

CWPA Week Two Women’s Varsity Poll

Besides Hawaii’s sizzling start, UC-Davis’ incredibly difficult early season schedule and Loyola Marymount’s leap from 19 to 11, this week’s news is the upcoming Triton Invitational hosted by UC-San Diego. With five of the nation’s top teams—USC, UCLA, Hawaii, Fresno State and UC Irvine—in action, this early season stress test will help clarify who’s on top.

1) USC (2-0; 0-0 MPSF); Casey Moon—fully in charge again after a five-year gap—has the Trojans off to their typical unbeaten start. Can they keep it up for a second-straight Triton title?

2) Cal (4-0; 0-0 MPSF); Cal also played some tough foes last weekend—UCLA and arch-rival Stanford—also in exhibitions. They will be keeping score on The Farm when the Golden Bears and Cardinal face off next Saturday in Palo Alto.

3) UCLA (4-0; 0-0 MPSF); Unlike the Trojans, the Bruins have faced difficult opponents—#2 Cal and the U.S. women’s team—both in exhibition matches. No results are released but scheduling tough opponents early gives coach Adam Wright an idea of how his young team, with 11 freshmen and seven sophomores, will develop.

4) Hawaii (5-0; 0-0 Big West); Water Polo Planet has chatter about a lack of depth on Head Coach Maureen Cole’s squad. This may prove true but—based on strength of schedule—Hawaii has been the nation’s best team, with wins over top-10 teams Stanford, Princeton and Fresno State (a 9-5 decision last weekend at the Rainbow Invitational).

5) Fresno State (6-1; 0-0 GCC); The Bulldogs are right behind the Rainbow Wahine on strength of schedule but the divide between 4th and 5th is four-goals wide. Fresno State beat Stanford and Princeton but was a loser to Hawaii in Honolulu.

T-6) UC-Irvine (2-2; 0-0 Big West); Unlike Fresno State or Hawaii, the Anteaters could not take down Stanford and also lost to Cal on their opening weekend of play. They rebounded with wins over San Jose State and UC Davis. Next up; a major test at the Triton Invitational.

T-6) Stanford (2-2; 0-0 MPSF); The Cardinal only scrimmaged this weekend—probably a good scenario after arguably the worst opening weekend of the John Tanner era. Stanford hosts five teams— including Cal—this weekend.

8) Princeton (1-2; 0-0 CWPA) What happens when you beat Cal for the first time and make your first-ever Final Four (last year)? You go to Honolulu— where the Tigers opened their 2024 season. Losses to host Hawaii and Fresno State were deflating… but you can’t beat the weather!

9) UC-San Diego (5-1; 0-0 Big West); A fast start—including a one-goal loss to UCLA in their season’s opening day—points to good things for the Tritons. They’re at home this weekend for their own Invitational; a great measuring stick for coach Brad Kreutzkamp’s side.

10) Michigan (4-3; 0-0 CWPA); an 0-3 opening weekend in California gave way to a 4-0 home sweep at the Wolverine Invitational the next. This weekend it’s back out West for the Triton Invite.

11) Loyola Marymount (6-1; 0-0 GCC); Great start for the Lions, especially a big win over LBS. This weekend in San Diego may show if LMU is capable of challenging Fresno State’s stranglehold on the GCC title.

12) UC-Santa Barbara (5-1; 0-0 Big West); A narrow 14-11 opening weekend loss to UCLA is the Gauchos only blemish. Coach Serela Kay’s squad leapfrogs Big West rival LBS.

13) Long Beach State (2-1; 0-0 Big West); Loss last weekend to Loyola Maryland pushed The Beach out of the top 10.

14) Arizona State (4-0; 0-0 MPSF); Sun Devils outscored their opponents 74-24 in an opening season sweep at their own tournament. That result reflects more on the visitors—only two ranked teams, from the wrong end of the poll. This weekend it’s higher-ranked opponents in San Diego.

15) Indiana (4-0; 0-0 MPSF); Once upon a time the Hoosiers and the Wolverines were the first wave of a proposed Big Ten women’s water polo conference. Not only did that not happen—the two schools are in separate water polo conferences—the irony is that next fall UCLA and USC, core members of the Pac-12, are jumping to the Big Ten.

T-16) UC-Davis (0-6; 0-0 Big West); You have to give credit to coach Kandace Waldthaler; the first two weekends her Aggies faced the nation’s top five teams as well as then-No. 9 Fresno State. Or maybe not; UCD lost those games by a cumulative score of 102-38. Looking for the season’s first win in San Diego.


Photo Courtesy: UC Davis Athletics

T-16) Pacific (0-0); open at the Stanford Invitational on February 3.

18) Harvard (0-0); opens at the Bruno Classic on February 3.

19) San Jose State (1-3; 0-0 MPSF); Tough one-goal loss to UCSB distinguishes the Spartan’s season (so far). A weekend off until the ASU Invitational next weekend in Tempe.

20) Wagner (2-2; 0-0 MAAC); Seahawks opened in Tempe with a predictable split; wins over Salem and Cal Lutheran; losses to host Arizona State and LMU. Wagner is now on break until the Bruno Classic next month at Brown.


San Diego State (2-1; 0-0 GCC); The Aztecs will participate in their hometown tournament. First up on Friday? #4 Hawaii.

Biola (2-2; 0-0 WWPA); The Eagles (T-23) again split their two matches the past weekend. They’re off this weekend and go to Stanford next weekend. On the horizon: the Kalbus Invite at UC-Irvine; a huge test for Sarah Orozco’s team.

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