BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — No. 6-ranked/Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Champion the University of Michigan will take on Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Third Place finisher/No. 3 the University of California-Los Angeles at 8:15 p.m. Eastern/5:15 p.m. Pacific on Friday, May 10, in the tournament quarterfinals as the 2019 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship field was announced during the evening of Monday, April 29.
Michigan will make its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and ninth in program history. This year’s championship will take place Friday through Sunday, May 10-12, at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatic Center in Palo Alto, California.
The CWPA Champion Wolverines are among seven automatic qualifiers for the tournament along with No. 2 the University of Southern California (USC) (MPSF), No. 8 University of the Pacific (Golden Coast Conference), Division III No. 2 California Lutheran University (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC)), No. 5 the University of Hawaii (Big West Conference), No. 14 the University of California-San Diego (Western Water Polo Association (WWPA)) and No. 19 Wagner College (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)).
MPSF Fourth Place finsher/At-Large selection/No. 4 the University of California, MPSF runner-up/No. 1 Stanford and UCLA all received At-Large bids into the field after failing to win their conference.
The NCAA Tournament will begin with a pair of opening round/play-in games on Tuesday, May 7, at Stanford as Wagner will face UC-San Diego at 3:00 p.m. Eastern/Noon Pacific before Pacific and Cal Lutheran clash at 4:45 p.m. Eastern/1:45 p.m Pacific.
The quarterfinals on Friday, May 10, will pit USC-vs.-the winner of UC-San Diego/Wagner at 3:00 p.m. Eastern/Noon Pacific before California and Hawaii take to the water at 4:45 p.m. Eastern/1:45 p.m. Pacific and host Stanford meets the winner of Pacific/Cal Lutheran at 6:30 p.m. Eastern/3:30 p.m. Pacific. Michigan and UCLA will close out the day at 8:15 p.m. Eastern/5:15 p.m. Pacific.
Winners advance to the semifinal round on Saturday, May 11, with the winner of USC/Wagner/UC-San Diego taking on the victor of California/Hawaii at 6:00 p.m. Eastern/3:00 p.m. Pacific before the winner of Stanford/Pacific/Cal Lutheran squares off with the victor of UCLA/Michigan at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/5:00 p.m. Pacific.
The 2019 national championship bout is set for 6:00 p.m. Eastern/3:00 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, May 12.
Michigan and UCLA faced each other twice this season, with the Bruins winning 15-5 at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational on Feb. 23 and 9-7 at the UCSB Winter Invite on Jan. 20. The Wolverines last faced UCLA in the NCAA Tournament in 2016, losing to the Bruins, 5-4, in the third-place game. The fourth-place NCAA finish matched U-M’s highest in program history in just the second season under Dr. Marcelo Leonardi.
After the NCAA Tournament moved to single-elimination format in 2017, Michigan has lost to the No. 3 seed each of the last two years. The Wolverines fell to USC (12-6 L) in 2017 in Indianapolis and to California (13-6 L) last year in Los Angeles. U-M has an all-time record of 6-13 in its NCAA Tournament history.
The Wolverines enter the NCAA Tournament with a 23-8 overall record. The team defeated No. 15 Princeton University, 10-6, in the Collegiate Water Polo Association championship game at Brown University’s Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center on Sunday, April 28, and went 6-0 in conference play during the regular season.
Michigan is led by the CWPA Player of the Year Maddy Steere, who has 53 goals and 42 assists this season. CWPA Rookie of the Year Abby Andrews has U-M freshman records with 70 assists and 126 points, becoming just the fourth player in program history with more than 50 goals and 50 assists in a season. Senior Julia Sellers is the team’s top goal scorer with 63 and was named the CWPA Tournament MVP after scoring hat tricks in both the semifinal and championship games. Junior goalkeeper Heidi Ritner is an All-CWPA first team selection who has 80 career victories and is second all-time at Michigan with 719 career saves.
Information courtesy University of Michigan Athletics Communications