USC Beats Out Pacific for NCAA Water Polo Championship Bid

A regular season-ending number-two ranking was not enough to earn Pacific a spot in the 2015 NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championships. Their 8-4 loss to USC in the third-place match at the MPSF championship tournament on Sunday appears to have weighed in the Tigers’ disfavor versus the Trojans, who were awarded one of two at-large NCAA bids. The two teams halved their regular season series.

The Tigers fall to 23-5 overall and suffer their first loss to a team outside this week’s top three of the polls. USC splits the season series with Pacific, and improves to 20-6 on the year.

Cal earned the other at-large spot and a first round bye after receiving the tournament’s second seed. The Bears took top-seeded and undefeated UCLA to overtime before falling by one goal in the MPSF Championship final.

Princeton is seeded fourth having won an automatic bid. The Tigers narrowly defeated upstarts Johns Hopkins in Sunday’s Collegiate Water Polo Association title match, 7-6. The Jays became the first ever Division 3 team to compete in a CWPA conference championship. Princeton ends the season ranked 11th overall at 22-4.

UC San Diego upset UC Davis, 6-5, in the Western Water Polo Association final in Colorado Springs to gain an automatic place in the NCAA Championship bracket. The Tritons are seeded fifth and play Princeton in a play-in match on November 28.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won an emotional overtime contest, 12-11, against Whittier at the Southern California Interscholastic Athletics Conference Championship final and gets the sixth seed at NCAAs. They will open against USC in their November 28 play-in.

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The final four teams will meet at UCLA’s Speiker Aquatic Center beginning December 5.

2015 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship Bracket

Source: #2 Men’s Water Polo Stunned By #4 USC In MPSF Third Place Game