Cardinal women earn top seed at NCAA water polo tournament


The top-ranked Stanford women's water polo team was awarded the top seed of the upcoming NCAA tournament, which opens Friday, May 9, at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Cardinal (22-1) won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament to earn the automatic bid. The announcement was made Monday.

Stanford will meet the winner of No. 8 seed Indiana, the CWPA champion, and No. 9 seed Wagner, the MAAC champion. Indiana and Wagner play this Saturday in a play-in game.

The Cardinal, the only program to have qualified for all 14 NCAA water polo tournaments since the event's inception in 2001, is looking for its fourth national title. Stanford previously won titles in 2002, 2011 and 2012.

Including Stanford, five MPSF teams made it into the 10-team field. UCLA, USC, California and Arizona State claimed the second through fifth seeds, respectively, with Big West champion UC Irvine being named the No. 6 seed.

The Cardinal is 13-1 against the field, with the lone loss to the Bruins.

The top six seeds all advance to the tournament proper from May 9-11, and will be joined by the two play-in game winners.

The two play-in games, on campus sites, on Saturday and also includes a contest between No. 7 UC San Diego and No. 10 Pomona-Pitzer.

UCLA takes on the winner of the UC San Diego/Pomona-Pitzer contest next Friday at noon. USC and UC Irvine will face off at 1:45 p.m. while California and Arizona State commence at 5:15 p.m.

Stanford has faced Wagner once before in NCAA championship action, defeating the Seahawks 25-8 in the 2007 first round, and has never faced Indiana at the event.

The Cardinal offense is paced by four 40-goal scorers in Kiley Neushul (46), Maggie Steffens (44), Ashley Grossman (41) and Annika Dries (40), while on defense sophomore goalie Gabby Stone boasts a goals-against average of 5.99 and anchors a group which allows just 5.91 goals per game.

— Stanford Athletics


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