USC Punches 12th Straight Ticket To NCAA Tournament|
April 27, 2015
The USC women's water polo team has secured its 12th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, having grabbed an at-large berth in the 2015 tourney. Winners of four previous national championships, the Trojans (22-5) set their sights on a fifth title when they head to Palo Alto for action running May 8-10 at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.
USC's last NCAA crown came in 2013, when the Trojans beat Stanford in triple sudden-death overtime in the title match in Boston. The Trojans finished third at last year's tournament, stoking the fires of determination to get back into championship gear this year. Three players remain from that 2013 championship team: All-American seniors Eike Daube and Monica Vavic, and junior Jayde Appel. USC is otherwise a young group, but its talent pool is deep. Sophomores Stephania and Ioanna Haralabidis are the team's second and third leading scorers this year, and five Trojan newcomers have accounted for at least 20 goals apiece this season, and the cage has been capably controlled by a powerful freshman goalie in Victória Chamorro.
The talented Trojans are one of four at-large teams in the mix for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, joining six conference champions to round out the 10-team bracket. Four teams will compete in a play-in game this weekend in order to earn a place in the final eight in Palo Alto on May 8.
The 2015 bracket was released today (April 27) on ncaa.com. The Trojans (22-5) earned their place in the tourney as an at-large selection and are coming off a fourth-place finish at the MPSF Tournament. The rest of the 2015 NCAA field includes three other MPSF teams. UCLA (24-2) is an automatic selection as the MPSF Tournament champion, while defending NCAA champ Stanford (22-2) is an at-large selection. MPSF Tournament runner-up California (19-7) rounds out the MPSF teams in the bracket this year as an at-large selection. The next two teams come from the Big West Conference, with UC Irvine (19-8) getting the at-large berth while conference champ Hawai'i (18-8) is in as an automatic qualifier. The remaining spots are filled by conference champions from around the country with automatic berths. Those teams are: Princeton (29-3, Collegiate Water Polo Association), UC San Diego (18-18, Western Water Polo Association), Whittier (21-14, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) and Wagner (25-8, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference).
On May 2, Wagner will visit Princeton in one play-in game, while UC San Diego visits Whittier in the second play-in game. The winners of each will advance to the eight-team 2015 National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship, held May 8-10 at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.
USC opens its 2015 tournament run against Hawai'i at 1:45 p.m. PT on Friday, May 8. Also that day, Stanford will face the winner of the play-in game between UC San Diego and Whittier. UCLA will await the winner of the play-in game between Princeton and Wagner. Meanwhile, California will tangle with UC Irvine.
The winners of Friday's games advance to Saturday's semifinals, while the losing teams will move into a consolation bracket to contend for fifth and seventh places. Placement games will take place on Sunday, May 10. The seventh-place game will be at 12 p.m. followed by a 1:45 p.m. fifth-place game. Third place goes up for grabs at 3:30 p.m., and the NCAA Championship match is set for 5:30 p.m. (all times Pacific).
Note: Seedings were not listed by ncaa.com at the time of this release