Tritons Receive First-Seed at WWPA Final

    The UCSD Men’s Water Polo team earned the top-seed for this weekend’s Western Water Polo Association conference tournament. UCSD — the tournament’s reigning champions — will face the No. 8 seed and hosts Whittier College this Friday, Nov. 16.

    The No. 10 nationally ranked Tritons, who go into the tournament with only two losses in the WWPA, sit in front of second-seed Loyola Marymount University, third-seed Air Force Academy and fourth-seed UC Davis.

    The Tritons are arguably the hottest squad in the WWPA going into the conference finals after upsetting No. 9 UC Irvine to pick up their fifth straight win. UCSD topped the Anteaters 12–11 at home last Thursday, Nov. 8, as senior Brian Donohoe scored the game-winner with less than a minute left in regulation.

    “We’re coming in with a bit of a win streak right now; we’ve got a lot of momentum,” WWPA Player of the Year John Butler said to the UCSD Athletics Department. “The guys are playing top water polo right now, and keep improving throughout the season.”

    UCSD has faced the Poets just once this season, winning 17–7 at Whittier’s home pool. The Poets are 11–17 overall and 6–5 in conference, coming off two tight losses, one at the SCIAC Championships and another against California Lutheran University.

    “It was a wonderful thing to win it last year, and now [we’re] going to find out what it really takes to play in the WWPA Tournament as the champs, and it is not an easy thing to defend, but I think they’re ready to do it,” UCSD Head Coach Denny Harper said to the UCSD Athletics Department.

    The Tritons’ most notable opponents will be second-seed Loyola Marymount. The Lions have won eight WWPA championships in their past 11 years of competition. UCSD sidestepped Loyola en route to the crown last season, as the Lions were upset by UC Davis in the semifinal round.

    “It gives you a lot of confidence knowing that you’re going in there as the top dog, and everyone’s looking up at you, and knowing that if you play your game and everyone contributes that it’s there for the taking,” Donohoe said.

    All of the tournament games are scheduled to be streamed live at the Whittier Athletics website. If the Tritons win, UCSD will advance to face the loser of the match between fourth-seeded UC Davis and fifth-seeded Santa Clara University this Saturday, Nov. 17.

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