College NCAA Water Polo (Men)

Six Conference Championships finished this weekend, and several teams look toward an NCAA crown

MPSF – The USC Trojans dished out another defeat to a struggling UCLA Bruins water polo team. USC opened up the scoring to go up 3-0 in the first quarter and they never looked back. USC goalie McQuin Baron recorded 17 saves on the day and shutout the Bruins in the first frame. UCLA would not go silent and managed two goals in the second quarter, but unfortunately for them so did the Trojans to leave the score at 5-2 going into the half. The third saw more scoring on both sides. The Bruins managed to draw a penalty shot and just when things looked to be going their way Baron managed to stomp those dreams by blocking the five meter. The score at the end of three would be 7-4. The fourth quarter opened with two time national champion UCLA goalie Garrett Danner showing everyone that he too can block penalty shots by stopping one from USC. UCLA managed another goal in the fourth to bring them within two, senior Nick Bell managed to put away a risky shot to put his team up by three. UCLA could not convert on two 6-5 opportunities and USC really made a show of it all by putting away one more goal to put the score at 9-5. UCLA managed one more consolation goal but it was nowhere near enough to bring them closer to victory. USC are the 2016 MPSF champions and now look to win their 10th NCAA championship under coach Jovan Vavic. The NCAA tournament starts December 2rd and will be held at The University of California Berkeley.

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SCIAC – The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens are the 2016 SCIAC champions and have earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Sagehens defeated the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags by a score of 7-4. The Sagehens never trailed in the game and were led in goals by Adam Ward who scored his team’s first two goals. Pomona went undefeated within SCIAC play this year and has a record of 23-8. They open up NCAA play on December 3rd against Cal.

GCC – The Pepperdine Waves won the first ever GCC Conference crown this weekend after a thrilling 6-5 win over The Pacific Tigers. Goalie Zack Rhodes had 18 saves on the day and was named tournament MVP. Marko Asic led Pepperdine with three goals in the game and was named to the all-tournament team. The Waves never trailed but it was their defense that really helped them to the victorious outcome. The Waves had to defeat the regular season conference leaders UCSB and the second place team Pacific to earn the championship. This is the first year of the GCC so they do not have an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Mid-Atlantic  No. 12 Bucknell University was able to defeat no. 18 George Washington in the MAWPC championship. Bucknell was led by Rade Joksimovic with four goals. With the victory Bucknell has earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The last appearance by Bucknell at the NCAA tournament was in 1985. This win puts their record at 23-4, with the only better record coming from the 1985 team that went 25-9. The Bucknell Bisons will be playing Harvard in a play in game and the winner will advance to the NCAA championships.

WWPA – UC-Davis won this year’s WWPA crown in a 12-8 win over UC San Diego. The UC-Davis Aggies never trailed in the contest. The last time the Aggies won the conference was in 1997 and they also managed to break their single season win record as well. Riley Venne scored three goals for the Aggies. UC Davis managed to break UCSD’s conference win streak. The Aggies have lost in the conference championship game five times. The Aggies will face the winner of the Harvard and Bucknell game and the winner will advance to the NCAA semi-final game.

NWPC – The Harvard Men’s water polo team won its first ever Northeast Water Polo Conference championship with a 11-7 win over Brown University. Harvard went 25-6 on the year matching its best ever record. Harvard defeated MIT, Princeton, and Brown to win the tournament. The closest Brown ever got was down two goals in the third period, but Harvard was able to pull away and finished with a four goal win. Harvard will host Bucknell and the winner with go on to play UC-Davis in the NCAA tournament held at Cal.

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