As expected, Stanford was named the National Collegiate Women’s Water Polo Championship’s top seed, the NCAA announced Monday during its selection show.
The National Collegiate Women’s Water Polo Championship is set for May 9-11 at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Stanford (22-1), which captured the MPSF Championship crown Sunday with a 6-5 win over No. 2 UCLA and with it the conference’s automatic bid, will open action Friday, May 9 at 3:30 p.m. against the winner of May 3’s play-in game between No. 8 seed Indiana, the CWPA champion, and No. 9 seed Wagner, the MAAC champion.
The Cardinal, which continues its run as the only program to have now qualified for all 14 NCAA water polo tournaments since the event’s inception in 2001, will go for its fourth national title in two weeks. Stanford previously won titles in 2002, 2011 and 2012.
Including Stanford, five MPSF teams made it into the 10-team field. UCLA, USC, California and Arizona State claimed the second through fifth seeds, respectively, with Big West champion UC Irvine being named the No. 6 seed.
The top six seeds all advance to the tournament proper from May 9-11, and will be joined by the two play-in game winners. The two play-in games on May 3 will be contested between No. 7 UC San Diego and No. 10 Pomona Pitzer and the aforementioned Indiana-Wagner matchup, with the higher seeds hosting each game.
UCLA will take on the winner of the UC San Diego-Pomona-Pitzer contest Friday at noon. USC and UC Irvine will face off at 1:45 p.m. while California and Arizona State commence at 5:15 p.m.
Stanford has faced Wagner once before in NCAA Championship action, defeating the Seahawks 25-8 in the 2007 first round, but has never faced Indiana at the event.
The Cardinal offense is paced by four 40-goal scorers in Kiley Neushul (46), Maggie Steffens (44), Ashley Grossman (41) and Annika Dries (40), while on defense sophomore goalie Gabby Stone boasts a goals-against average of 5.99 and anchors a group which allows just 5.91 goals per game.