The University of Pacific women's water polo team is making a splash.
Since the NCAA introduced a women's water polo championship in 2001, only three programs have won: Stanford, USC, and UCLA. Only two other programs, Loyola Marymount [LMU] and Cal, have made it to the championship match over the last 17 years. LMU was the first and remains the only school outside of the Pac-12 to make it to an NCAA championship match, but the University of Pacific women's water polo team is looking to change that.
For the second straight year, the Tigers claimed the Golden Coast Conference championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers earned the fifth seed in the bracket and will face fourth-seeded UCLA 4:45 p.m. Friday, May 11 at USC. The Bruins were last year's runners up, losing to Stanford by a final of 8-7.
When water polo coach James Graham took over the women's team in 2013, the Tigers finished with a 16-16 record and ranked 20th in the nation. This year, the Tigers closed out the regular season with an 18-7 record, going 7-0 in GCC play, and sitting behind some of the legacy programs in the women's water polo rankings at seventh.
This was a year of improvement for the Pacific women's water polo team. Not only did the Tigers go undefeated in their league for the first time in program history, they beat perennial power Michigan in all three matchups this season.
The Pacific women's water polo team faces its toughest task of the season this weekend in Southern California. The Tigers are 0-19 all-time against the Bruins who handed Pacific its only home loss of the seasons.