BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The road to glory for the No. 7-ranked Wolverines of Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Champion the University of Michigan will run through No. 5 Arizona State University as the 2021 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s Water Polo Championship field was announced at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/5:00 p.m. Pacific on NCAA.com.
The NCAA Women’s Water Polo Committee announced the 10 teams vying for the 2021 women’s water polo championship with seven automatic qualifiers from conference championships and three at-large teams making the cut. Six teams advance directly to the championship field, and the remaining four teams will compete in Opening Round games on Wednesday, May 12. Those winners will advance to quarterfinal games set for Friday, May 14, with semifinals held Saturday, May 15, and the NCAA Championship game set for 6:00 p.m. Eastern/3:00 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, May 16. All games will be played at the Spieker Aquatics Center on the campus of the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA).
Streaming coverage of the first round, semifinal and championship games on May 14-16 will be available on NCAA.com.
Earning automatic berths this year are Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Champion/No. 1 the University of Southern California, CWPA Champion/No. 7 Michigan, Golden Coast Conference Champion/No. 11 Fresno State University, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Champion/Division III No. 1 California Lutheran University, Big West Conference Champion/No. 6 the University of Hawaii, Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Champion/No. 25 Salem University and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Champion/No. 21 Marist College.
Three teams claim at-large berths as No. 5 Arizona State, No. 2 Stanford University and the host Bruins of UCLA – all of which hail from the MPSF – join the seven automatic qualifiers in making up the 2021 NCAA Championship field.
USC, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State claimed the No. 1-4 seeds for the championship field.
Action starts on Wednesday, May 12, at UCLA with a pair of opening round games as Marist (8-0) and Salem (18-11) duke it out in an East Coast affair on the West Coast at 2:00 p.m Eastern/11:00 a.m. Pacific. Fresno State (12-5) and Cal Lutheran (5-0) closed out the first day of competition at 4:00 p.m. Eastern/1:00 p.m. Pacific.
The victor of the Marist/Salem game advances to a 3:00 p.m Eastern/Noon Pacific clash on Friday, May 14 with the top seed Trojans of USC (19-1) to start the First Round of competition.
Michigan (21-4) and Arizona State (13-11) will meet for the third time in 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern/2:00 p.m. Pacific as the Wolverines will seek to repeat a 12-10 defeat of the Sun Devils from February 26 and avenge at 7-4 setback on February 28 both in Tempe, Arizona.
The Wolverines – who defeated No. 20 Bucknell University for the team’s fifth consecutive CWPA Championship – are making their 10th overall and fifth consecutive NCAA Championship appearance. Historically, Michigan has an all-time record of 6-14 in its NCAA Tournament history and placed an all-time best Fourth Place at the 2016 NCAA Championship hosted by UCLA.
In other First Round action, Stanford (12-5) awaits the victor of the Fresno State/Cal Lutheran game as the Cardinal will aim to pick-up a win at 7:00 p.m. Eastern/4:00 p.m. Pacific. Play on May 14 concludes at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific as the host Bruins (13-4) will try to stop the Rainbow Wahine of Hawaii (11-1).
The victors of the USC vs. Marist/Salem and Arizona State vs. Michigan games will square-off in a semifinal at 6:00 p.m. Eastern/3:00 p.m. Pacific on Saturday, May 15, prior to the victor of the Stanford vs. Fresno State/Cal Lutheran and UCLA vs. Hawaii games doing the same at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific.
The National Championship game will take place on Sunday, May 16, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern/3:00 p.m. Pacific.