April 30, 2012
2012 National Collegiate Bracket
STANFORD, Calif. - Defending NCAA champion Stanford women's water polo was named the top seed at the 2012 National Collegiate Championship Monday. The event will take place May 11-13 at Aztec Aquaplex on the campus of San Diego State University.
The Cardinal (23-2) earned one of two at-large bids into the eight-team field and will aim for a repeat national title beginning with No. 8 seed and SCIAC champion Pomona-Pitzer (21-16) Friday, May 11 at 3:30 p.m. PT.
The tournament will continue Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13, as each of the eight teams are guaranteed to play three games.
The bid continues Stanford's status as the only collegiate women's water polo program to qualify for every tournament since the NCAA first sponsored a women's water polo championship in 2001. Winner of the 2002 and 2011 NCAA titles, the Cardinal will make its 13th consecutive appearance at the event.
Stanford was one of three MPSF schools to make the field, being joined by No. 2 seed UCLA, which captured the conference's automatic bid by winning the MPSF Championship Sunday, and No. 3 seed USC, which earned the second at-large bid.
Rounding out the field, in order of seeding, are conference champions and automatic qualifiers UC Irvine (Big West), Loyola Marymount (WWPA), Princeton (CWPA), Iona (MAAC) and Pomona-Pitzer (SCIAC).
May 11's quarterfinal meeting will be the second all-time between Stanford and Pomona-Pitzer at the National Collegiate Championship. The Cardinal defeated the Sagehens, 23-3, in the opening round of the 2010 edition, also held at San Diego State.
The Cardinal finished second at the MPSF Championship this past weekend at Avery Aquatic Center, dropping an 8-7 overtime decision to UCLA in the title game. The loss snapped a 37-game home winning streak for the Cardinal.
Stanford heads into the tournament led by the MPSF's top-ranked offense (12.28 goals per game) and defense (4.72 goals allowed a game). On offense, seven players have scored at least 20 goals this season, led by freshmen Kiley Neushul (55 goals) and Ashley Grossman (47) while senior Alyssa Lo is also over the 30-goal mark with 32.
Junior goalie Kate Baldoni
boasts a goals-against average of just 4.62 and averages 10.11 saves a game to anchor the Cardinal defense.