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Western Water Polo Association – UC San Diego Captures 8th WWPA Title, Bid to National Championships

Photo courtesy Gannon Sports Information

Photo courtesy Gannon Sports Information

Women’s Water Polo – Sun, Apr. 28, 2019

WWPA Championship Central

GENEVA, Ohio – Top-seeded UC San Diego captured its seventh straight Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) title with a 15-4 victory over No. 2 seed Fresno Pacific on Sunday afternoon at the SPIRE Institute.

The early moments saw FPU battle back from a three-goal deficit to make it 3-2, but it was all UCSD from there. The Tritons, ranked No. 14 nationally, held the Sunbirds scoreless for a 24:47 span between the first and fourth quarters en route to their eighth WWPA title overall.

The Tritons receive the WWPA’s automatic bid to the 2019 National Collegiate Water Polo Championship Tournament.

Ciara Franke and Taylor Onstott scored three goals while Shelby Stender and Tera Richardson scored a pair apiece. Tournament MVP Reilly Gallagher made 11 saves in the cage, anchoring the UCSD defense.

The Tritons, one of the founding members of the WWPA, will move to the Big West Conference in 2020 as the athletics department transitions to NCAA Division I status.

“It is our honor to represent the WWPA one last time at the NCAA Championships,” said UC San Diego head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. “Thank you to a fantastic conference and we wish every team the very best of luck moving forward.”

UC San Diego will learn of its opening round opponent on Monday, April 29 at 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET via a live selection show on NCAA.com. Six of the 10 qualifying teams for the National Collegiate Women’s Water Polo Championship will move directly to the championship site, while four teams will compete in opening round games for the remaining two spots in the championship bracket.

Opening-round games will take place either Saturday, May 4 or Tuesday, May 7. The semifinals and finals will be held at Avery Aquatic Center in Stanford, California from May 10-12. Stanford University will serve as host.

WWPA All-Tournament Team
First Team
MVP: Reilly Gallagher, UC San Diego
Grace Pevehouse, UC San Diego
Chanel Schilling, UC San Diego
Sam Witt, Fresno Pacific
Savannah Mangrum, Fresno Pacific
Kelly Fehr, Gannon
Daniela Passoni, Cal State East Bay
Ivanna Anderson, Cal State East Bay

Second Team
Emily Westlove, McKendree
Sarah O’Keefe, Mercyhurst
Jordan “JoJo” Williams, Sonoma State
Maryana Antoniou, Salem
Marisa Lovos, Cal State Monterey Bay
Campbell Ruh, Gannon
Adrien Van Dyke, Cal State East Bay
Madeline Frey, Fresno Pacific
Taylor Onstott, UC San Diego

3rd Place – #3 Cal State East Bay 12 – #4 Gannon 9

The Pioneers used solid defense in the second half to take home third-place honors. Heading into the final period leading by one, the Pioneers held the Golden Knights scoreless on their first four possessions and Adrien Van Dyke scored twice to push the lead to 11-8. CSUEB goalkeepers Daniela Passoni and Makenna Nation combined to allow Gannon to just one goal the rest of the way.

Van Dyke led all scorers with six goals in the game.

Gannon jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead as CSUEB struggled to gain its footing early on. The Pioneers cut it to 4-2 at the break before some solid defense stalled the Golden Knights for the next five minutes.

CSUEB was able to tie the game and eventually went ahead, 7-6, on Van Dyke’s laser with :31 remaining in the half.

5th Place – #8 Cal State Monterey Bay 14 – #6 Salem 9
Olivia Centis scored five, Morgan Tucker added three, and the Otters put a cap on a 3-1 weekend with a dominant win over Salem. The Otters jumped out to a 4-1 lead and extended it to 9-4 at the break. The teams played an even second half, but the result was really never in doubt.

Chloe Woodbine led Salem with three goals in the contest.

7th Place – #9 Mercyhurst 7 – #5 Sonoma State 6
The ninth-seeded Lakers held off a late Seawolf rally to take home their second win of the WWPA Championship. Mercyhurst held a 7-3 lead heading into the final quarter, but SSU was able to hold the Lakers scoreless the rest of the way. Hailey Gellert’s goal with 58 seconds left pulled the Seawolves within one before SSU had an opportunity to tie it up on the final possession.

SSU had a prime opportunity to tie it at the death, but Mercyhurst’s Rachel Byrne rose up and tipped away the entry pass to allow the clock to drip to :00.

Byrne tallied a game-high four steals. Sarah Hershey led the Lakers with a pair of goals. Hurst jumped out to a 5-1 lead early in the second period.

Geller, an All-WWPA honorable mention selection, led SSU with four goals in the loss.

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