California Golden Bears (18-8) vs. Arizona State - MPSF 3rd Place Game
When: 12:30 PM PT
Online Stream: Pac-12 Digital (USC)
Game Updates: Twitter (@CalWWPolo)
Like Jon Snow, apparently I know nothing about this whole NCAA Women's Water Polo tournament. Regular reader would know that I had written with confidence that the No.4 ranking for the Golden Bears will be sufficient for the Bears to make the NCAA tournament back in my Next Cal NCAA Title post. In this past week, I backtracked a bit on the odds of the Bears making the NCAA tournament after seeing how out of the 8 teams in the field (as of last year), 6 went to automatic bids. Given the No.4 Bears are in the same MPSF conference as the top 3 teams (Stanfurd, USC, and UCLA), I thought the Bears need to win the MPSF to get a NCAA berth. Judging from the language in the game recap and the Daily Cal article on the MPSF tournament, apparently I am dead wrong. I apologize for writing down some misleading information about this, especially given the lack of information on the subject and how my posts may be one of the first result to pop up on a search about this. Oops.
The Bears (18-8) will meet sixth-seeded Arizona State at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Win or lose, Cal is expected to earn an NCAA Tournament at-large berth when the selections are announced Monday evening.
From the Daily Cal article on Thursday:
Apparently, the Bears only needed to beat San Jose State on Friday, which they did in OT behind the hat trick by senior Ashley Young. Now I don't know if the tournament has been expanded this year (it did for the men in December...which I also did NOT realize until the last couple of games before the draw was announced) or if one of the automatic bid is revoked so that there are now 3 at-large bids (this is probably the most likely scenario as the NCAA schedule pretty clearly imply that the tournament size is still 8 teams), but I guess the Bears may be dancing after all. This news also explained why the Bears did not play Saturday's semifinal and Big Splash rematch with 'Furd with more of a sense of urgency.
The NCAA Tournament this year is hosted by USC two weekends from now (5/9-5/11), in the same pool that these MPSF Tournament games are taking place. So today's game would be a good practice, if nothing else. Bears would also like to get revenge on ASU for a 5-6 loss earlier in the year.