UH water polo team opens MPSF tourney today
In the water polo tournament within a tournament at this weekend's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, eight women's teams are playing for fifth. Barring a huge upset, top seeds Stanford, Southern California, UCLA and California will play for the MPSF's NCAA Championship berth Sunday.
Based on the season, it should make for many close games, broken up by a few blowouts, at USC's McDonald Swim Complex.
The University of Hawai'i (13-12), seeded eighth and ranked 11th, opens this morning (5 a.m. HST) against ninth-seeded UC Santa Barbara (16-15). The Rainbow Wahine finished in a three-way tie for sixth in the MPSF, and fell behind San Jose State and San Diego State based on the second tiebreaker (goal differential in MPSF games between tied teams).
They split games with the Gauchos this season, losing 9-8 in January and winning, 5-3, a month ago.
There was also a three-way tie for first, with Stanford, USC and UCLA all at 10-1. Stanford won that tiebreaker and will face the winner of UH-UCSB this afternoon.
The Cardinal have won the last two MPSF Championships. UCLA won the first three (1996-98) and Cal captured the 1999 title.
These could be the final games for Hawai'i seniors Christa Tackaberry and Karin van Hoff. Tackaberry, a four-year starter who has 156 saves this season, will leave with every UH goalkeeping record. Van Hoff, a 24-year-old from the Netherlands, is this year's leading scorer, with sophomore Chelsea Garner-Prohs. Both have 39 goals.
SHORT SPLASHES: The NCAA Championship will be May 11-12 at the McDonald Swim Complex. ... The second National Collegiate Select Championship, scheduled for next weekend, has been canceled. It was water polo's version of the NIT, bringing together teams who did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. ... The champions from the MPSF and Western and Collegiate Water Polo Associations receive automatic NCAA berths. There is one at-large berth.