April 24, 2007

Santa Clara Earns Third Seed At WWPA Championships

April 24, 2007

Official WWPA Press Release in PDF Format
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) announced today the final seedings for the 2007 WWPA Championships to be held at UC Santa Cruz beginning Friday, April 27. After a very strong 2007 campaign, the No. 17 ranked* Santa Clara women's water polo team earned the third seed out of 12 total after posting a 21-12 overall record, and leading the WWPA with 15 conference victories to just three losses.

"We're happy with the third seed," said head coach Keith Wilbur. "I think that UC Davis and LMU deserved to be the top teams. They played tough schedules, but I'm also satisfied with the way we've played this season. We've gotten some big wins both in the WWPA and against other top programs. But in terms of our success this season, we know that it all comes down to this weekend."

With the third seed, the Broncos will play at 3:00 p.m. against against the winner of #6 seeded Cal State San Bernardino and #11 seeded UC Santa Cruz, who play at 10:00 a.m. Santa Clara has had success against both opponents this year, defeating San Bernardino at the Slugfest in early March 9-4, and then again on March 31 at the Aggie Shootout by a final score of 13-4. The Broncos met rival Santa Cruz twice in 2007 as well, defeating them 16-6 on February 3, and then last weekend, Sunday, April 15 by a score of 12-4 at Malley Pool in Santa Clara.

Ahead of Santa Clara in the seedings were #9 UC Davis* and #8 Loyola Marymount*, who took the first and second seeds, respectively. The Broncos two contests with the Aggies represent two of the three WWPA losses in Santa Clara's 15-3 WWPA record. Santa Clara did not face LMU in 2007, and could see them in the semifinals if both teams advance past the second round.

"LMU is a really good team," Wilbur said. "They've won conference four of the last five years, so they have some experience. We are not going to look past our first game, but we we would look forward to matching up with LMU later in the tournament if it works out that way. They have great speed, so if we played them, shutting down their counter attack would be one of the keys to the game for us."

With the third seed, Santa Clara enjoys the luxury of what is similar to a first-round bye, as seeds 5-12 play off for what would be the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth spots in a traditional eight-team single-elimination bracket. However, the WWPA Championship is not single-elimination, and all twelve teams will continue play through Sunday afternoon and will receive a ranking between one and twelve.

*National rankings as of poll released 4/18/07 by the Collegiate Water Polo Association.