NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship

The NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship is an annual tournament to determine the national champion of NCAA men's collegiate water polo. Beginning in 1969, it has been held every year except 2020, when it was postponed to March 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a limited number of NCAA water polo programs at the national level, all men's teams, whether from Division I, Division II, or Division III, are eligible to compete each year in the National Collegiate tournament. The tournament was expanded from a four-team bracket in 2013 by adding two play-in games that are contested by the bottom four seeds, effectively creating a six-team bracket with a first-round bye for the top two teams.

NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship
NCAA logo.svg
Founded1969
Number of teams7
Current championsUniversity of California, Berkeley (15)
Most successful club(s)University of California, Berkeley (15)
WebsiteNCAA.com

While the championship often includes teams from around the country, most programs are located within the state of California, and no school from outside California has ever surpassed third place or participated in the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship game.

The four California based Pac-12 schools have been the most successful. The University of California, Berkeley is the most successful program with 15 titles, followed by UCLA with 12 titles, Stanford (11 titles), and USC (10 titles).[1] One of these four schools has won the championship every year since 1998.

Championships summaryEdit

NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship
Year Site Pool/Natatorium Championship Results
Champion Score Runner-Up
1969 Long Beach, CA Belmont Plaza Pool UCLA 5–2 California
1970 UC Irvine 7–6 (3OT) UCLA
1971 UCLA (2) 5–3 San Jose State
1972 Albuquerque, NM Armond H. Seidler Natatorium UCLA (3) 10–5 UC Irvine
1973 Long Beach, CA Belmont Plaza Pool California 8–4 UC Irvine
1974 California (2) 7–6 UC Irvine
1975 California (3) 9–8 UC Irvine
1976 Stanford 13–12 UCLA
1977 Providence, RI Smith Swim Center[2] California (4) 8–6 UC Irvine
1978 Long Beach, CA Belmont Plaza Pool Stanford (2) 7–6 (3OT) California
1979 UC Santa Barbara 11–3 UCLA
1980 Stanford (3) 8–6 California
1981 Stanford (4) 17–6 Long Beach State
1982 UC Irvine (2) 7–4 Stanford
1983 California (5) 10–7 USC
1984 California (6) 9–8 Stanford
1985 Stanford (5) 12–11 (2OT) UC Irvine
1986 Stanford (6) 9–6 California
1987 California (7) 9–8 (OT) USC
1988 California (8) 14–11 UCLA
1989 Indianapolis, IN Indiana University Natatorium UC Irvine (3) 9–8 California
1990 Long Beach, CA Belmont Plaza Pool California (9) 8–7 Stanford
1991 California (10) 7–6 UCLA
1992 California (11) 12–11 (3OT) Stanford
1993 Stanford (7) 11–9 USC
1994 Stanford (8) 14–10 USC
1995 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center UCLA (4) 10–8 California
1996 La Jolla, San Diego, CA Canyonview Pool UCLA (5) 8–7 USC
1997 Fort Lauderdale, FL International Swimming Hall of Fame
Aquatics Complex
Pepperdine 8–7 (2OT) USC
1998 Newport Beach, CA Marian Bergeson Aquatic Center USC 9–8 (2OT) Stanford
1999 La Jolla, San Diego, CA Canyonview Pool UCLA (6) 6–5 Stanford
2000 Malibu, CA Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool UCLA (7) 11–2 UC San Diego
2001 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center Stanford (9) 8–5 UCLA
2002 Los Angeles, CA Burns Aquatics Center Stanford (10) 7–6 California
2003 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center USC (2) 9–7 (2OT) Stanford
2004 UCLA (8) 10–9 (OT) Stanford
2005 Lewisburg, PA Kinney Natatorium USC (3) 3–2 Stanford
2006 Los Angeles, CA Burns Aquatics Center California (12) 7–6 USC
2007 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center California (13) 8–6 USC
2008 USC (4) 7–5 Stanford
2009 Princeton, NJ DeNunzio Pool USC (5) 7–6 UCLA
2010 Berkeley, CA Spieker Aquatics Complex USC (6) 12–10 (OT) California
2011 USC (7) 7–4 UCLA
2012 Los Angeles, CA McDonald's Swim Stadium USC (8) 11–10 UCLA
2013 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center USC (9) 12-11 (2OT) Pacific
2014 La Jolla, San Diego, CA Canyonview Pool UCLA (9) 9-8 USC
2015 Los Angeles, CA Spieker Aquatics Center UCLA (10) 10-7 USC
2016 Berkeley, CA Spieker Aquatics Complex California (14) 11-8 (2OT) USC
2017 Los Angeles, CA Uytengsu Aquatics Center UCLA (11) 7-5 USC
2018 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center USC (10) 14-12 Stanford
2019 Stockton, CA Chris Kjeldsen Pool Complex Stanford (11) 13-8 Pacific
2020[a] Los Angeles, CA Uytengsu Aquatics Center UCLA (12) 7-6 USC
2021 Spieker Aquatics Center California (15) 13-12 USC
2022 Berkeley, CA Spieker Aquatics Complex
2023 Los Angeles, CA Uytengsu Aquatics Center
2024 La Jolla, San Diego, CA Canyonview Pool
2025 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center
Notes
  1. ^ The championship was held in March, 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Team titlesEdit

 
 
California
 
឴឴឵UCLA
 
Stanford
 
USC
 
UC
Irvine
 
Pepperdine
 
UC Santa Barbara
Schools that have won the NCAA Championship
  15,   12,   11,   10,   3,   1
Team # Years
California 15 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2006, 2007, 2016, 2021
UCLA 12 1969, 1971, 1972, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2020
Stanford 11 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2019
USC 10 1998, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2018
UC Irvine 3 1970, 1982, 1989
Pepperdine 1 1997
UC Santa Barbara 1979

Recent championshipsEdit

2009 ChampionshipEdit

Semifinals scores (Princeton University, December 5, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm (ET)):

National Championship (Princeton University, December 6, 2:00 pm (ET)):

 
Semi-finalsFinal
 
      
 
December 5, 3:00 pm
 
 
#1 USC13
 
December 6, 2:00 pm
 
#4 Princeton3
 
#1 USC 7
 
December 5, 5:00 pm
 
#2 UCLA 6
 
#2 UCLA 9
 
 
#3 Loyola Marymount 8 (2 OT)
 
Third place
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2009 NCAA All-Tournament Teams:

  • First-Team – Shea Buckner, USC; Scott Davidson, UCLA; Ben Hohl, UCLA; Tibor Forai, LMU; J. W. Krumpholz, USC; Andy Stevens, LMU; Jordan Thompson, USC (MVP)
  • Second-Team – Edgaras Asajavicius, LMU; Matt Hale, Princeton; Cullen Hennessy, UCLA; Chay Lapin, UCLA; Matt Sagehorn, USC; Josh Samuels, UCLA; Eric Vreeland, Princeton; Griffin White, UCLA; Mark Zalewski, Princeton

2010 ChampionshipEdit

Semifinals (December 4, 2010, Spieker Aquatics Complex, University of California, Berkeley, California)

Championship (December 5, 2010, Spieker Aquatics Complex, University of California, Berkeley, California)

  • USC def. California 12-10 (OT)
 
Semi-finalsFinal
 
      
 
December 4
 
 
USC10
 
December 5
 
St. Francis (NY)7
 
USC12
 
December 4
 
Cal 10 (OT)
 
Cal 7
 
 
Loyola Marymount 6
 
Third place
 
 
December 5
 
 
Loyola Marymount
 
 
St. Francis (NY)

2010 NCAA All-Tournament Teams:

  • First-Team – Peter Kurzeka, USC (MVP); Ivan Rackov, CAL; Zachary White, CAL; Tibor Forai, LMU; Nikola Vavic, USC; Andy Stevens, LMU; Brian Dudley, CAL
  • Second-Team – Boris Plavsic, SFC; Ikaika Aki, LMU; Marko Gencic, SFC; Jeremy Davie, USC; Joel Dennerley, USC; Matt Burton, USC; Cory Nasoff, CAL

2011 ChampionshipEdit

Conferences receiving automatic qualification included the Collegiate Water Polo Association, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and the Western Water Polo Association. The remaining team was selected at-large without geographical restrictions.

Semifinals (December 3, 2011, Spieker Aquatics Complex, University of California, Berkeley, California)

  • USC (22-3) def. Princeton (21-9) 17–4
  • UCLA (23-4) def. UC-San Diego (17-9) 10–1

Championship (December 4, 2010, Spieker Aquatics Complex, University of California, Berkeley, California)

  • Third-place game, Princeton def. UC San Diego 9-7
  • Championship game, USC def. UCLA 7–4
 
Semi-finalsFinal
 
      
 
December 3
 
 
USC17
 
December 4
 
Princeton 4
 
USC 7
 
December 3
 
UCLA 4
 
UCLA 10
 
 
UC-San Diego 1
 
Third place
 
 
December 4
 
 
Princeton 9
 
 
UC-San Diego 7

2011 NCAA All-Tournament Teams:

  • First-Team – Joel Dennerley (MOP), Peter Kurzeka and Nikola Vavic, USC; Josh Samuels and Cullen Hennessy, UCLA; Thomas Nelson, Princeton and Graham Saber, UC San Diego.
  • Second-team – Matt Rapacz, Griffin White and Cristiano Mirarchi, UCLA; Jeremy Davie and Mace Rapsey, USC; Drew Hoffenberg, Princeton, and Brian Donohoe, UC San Diego.

2012 ChampionshipEdit

The NCAA men's water polo championship was held December 1 and 2, 2012 at Southern California's McDonald’s Swim Stadium. Conferences receiving automatic qualification included the Collegiate Water Polo Association, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and the Western Water Polo Association. The remaining team was selected at-large without geographical restrictions. All four championship games will be streamed live on www.NCAA.com.

Semifinals - December 1, 2012

  • Southern California (27-0) vs. Air Force (19-10) 4 p.m. ET
  • UCLA (27-4) vs. St. Francis (N.Y.) (16-8) 6:12 p.m. ET

Finals - December 2, 2012

  • Third-place game played at 4 p.m. ET
  • The championship game played at 6:12 p.m. ET.
 
Semi-finalsFinal
 
      
 
December 1, 4:00 PM
 
 
#1 Southern California 18
 
December 2, 6:12 PM
 
#4 Air Force 7
 
Southern California 11
 
December 1, 6:12 PM
 
UCLA 10
 
#2 UCLA 17
 
 
#3 St. Francis Brooklyn 3
 
Third place
 
 
December 2, 4:00 PM
 
 
St. Francis Brooklyn 14
 
 
Air Force 8

2013 ChampionshipEdit

The NCAA men's water polo championship was held December 7 and 8, 2013 at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center. This season marked the introduction of an expanded format. Six teams were seeded into the tournament, with the bottom four participating in Play-in games to fill the four team bracket. Four conferences received automatic qualification: the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), and the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). The remaining two teams were selected at-large without geographical restrictions. The tournament was seeded by the Men’s Water Polo Committee on December 1. Conference representatives were Southern Cal (MPSF), Whittier College (SCIAC), UC San Diego (WWPA), and St. Francis College Brooklyn (CWPA).

Play-in – December 5, 2013

  • Game 1: #5 St. Francis College Brooklyn (22-10) def. #4 UC San Diego (14-13) 6-5
  • Game 2: #3 Stanford (21-5) def. #6 Whittier College (19-12) 20-3

Semifinals – December 7, 2013

  • 1 p.m. – Seed No.1 Southern Cal (26-4) def. #5 St. Francis College Brooklyn (23-10) 10–3
  • 2:45 p.m. – Seed No. 2 Pacific (22-4) def. #3 Stanford (22-5) 11–10

Finals – December 8, 2013

  • Third-place game played at 1 p.m.
  • The championship game played at 3 p.m.
 
Semi-finalsFinal
 
      
 
December 7, 1:00 PM
 
 
#1 Southern California 10
 
December 8, 3:00 PM
 
#4 St. Francis Brooklyn3
 
Southern California 12
 
December 7, 2:45 PM
 
Pacific 11(2 OT)
 
#2 Pacific 11
 
 
#3 Stanford 10
 
Third place
 
 
December 8, 1:00 PM
 
 
St. Francis Brooklyn 2
 
 
Stanford 17

2014 ChampionshipEdit

The NCAA men's water polo championship was held December 6 and 7, 2014 at UC San Diego's Canyonview Aquatic Center, La Jolla, CA. The tournament continued with the new format by adding two more teams to play in the four-team play-in games. Conferences received automatic qualification were the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), and the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). The remaining teams were selected at-large without geographical restrictions. They were selected by the Men’s Water Polo Committee on November 23, 2014.

Play-in – November 29, 2014

  • Game 1: #4 UC San Diego (15-9) def. #5 Brown University (26-6) 12–7
  • Game 2: #3 USC (22-6) def. #6 Whittier (23-12) 19-4

Semifinals – December 6, 2014

  • Game 3, 1:00 PM PT: #1 seed UCLA (27-3) def. #4 seed UC San Diego (16-9) 15–6
  • Game 4, 3:12 PM PT: #3 seed USC (23-6) def. #2 seed Stanford (25-3) 12–11 in triple OT

Championship Dec. 7, 2014

  • Third-place game, 1:00 p.m. PT: #2 seed Stanford def. #4 seed UC San Diego 20–11
  • National Championship Game, 3:12 p.m. PT: #1 seed UCLA def. #3 seed USC 9–8

2015 ChampionshipEdit

The NCAA men's water polo championship was held December 5 and 6, 2015 at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center, Los Angeles. The tournament continued with the new format by adding two more teams to play in the four-team play-in games. Conferences received automatic qualification were the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), and the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). The remaining teams were selected at-large without geographical restrictions. They were selected by the Men’s Water Polo Committee on November 22, 2015.[3]

Play-in – December 2, 2015

  • Game 1: #5 UCSD (14–13) def. #4 Princeton (22–4) 12–7
  • Game 2: #3 USC (20–6) def. #6 Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps Colleges (21–7) 20–5

Semifinals – December 5, 2015

  • Game 3, 1:00 PM PT: #1 seed UCLA (28–0) def. #5 UCSD (15–13) 17–4
  • Game 4, 3:12 PM PT: #3 USC (21–6) def. #2 seed California (23–6) 9–6

Championship Dec. 6, 2015

  • Third-place game, 1:00 p.m. PT: Cal def. UCSD 20–9
  • National Championship Game, 3:12 p.m. PT: UCLA def. USC 10–7[4]

2016 ChampionshipEdit

California defeated USC 11-8 (2OT) for the national championship.

2017 ChampionshipEdit

The NCAA men's water polo championship was held December 2 and 3, 2017 at USC, Los Angeles. The tournament continued with the new format with eight teams playing for the championship. Conferences received automatic qualification are the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), Golden Coast Conference (GCC), the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC), Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), and the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). The remaining two teams were selected at-large without geographical restrictions.

Opening round – November 25, 2017

  • Pacific defeated Pomona-Pitzer 16–2
  • Harvard defeated George Washington 15–13

First round – November 30, 2017

  • Pacific defeated UC Davis 13–12
  • USC defeated Harvard 16–/4

Semifinals – December 2, 2017

  • UCLA defeated Pacific 11–9
  • USC defeated California 12–11

Championship – December 3, 2017

  • UCLA defeated USC 7–5

2018 ChampionshipEdit

The NCAA men's water polo championship was held December 1 and 2, 2018 at Avery Aquatic Center, Stanford, California. The tournament continued with the format in which eight teams competed for the championship. Teams qualifying as champions of their conferences were Long Beach State, from the Golden Coast Conference (GCC); George Washington, from the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC); Stanford, from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF); Princeton, from the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC); Pomona-Pitzer, from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC); and UC San Diego, from the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). The remaining two teams, Southern California (MPSF) and UCLA (MPSF), were selected at-large without geographical restrictions. Stanford, the #1 seed, and Southern California, the #2 seed, were seeded into the semifinal round, with the other six teams competing for the final two spots in opening and first-round games.[5][6]

Opening round – November 24, 2018

  • Long Beach St. def. Pomona-Pitzer 12–5 at Long Beach State
  • George Washington def. Princeton 14–13 at Princeton

First round – November 29, 2018 (at Avery Aquatic Center, Stanford, California)

  • UC San Diego def. Long Beach St. 14–9
  • UCLA def. George Washington 18–6

Semifinals – December 1, 2018

  • Stanford def. UC San Diego 16–7 (3:00 PM PT)
  • USC def. UCLA 8–7 (5:00 PM PT)

Championship – December 2, 2018

  • USC def. Stanford 14-12

2019 ChampionshipEdit

The NCAA men's water polo championship was held December 7 and 8, 2019 at the Chris Kjeldsen Aquatic Center, Stockton, California. Seven teams played for the championship. Teams qualifying as champions of their conferences were Pepperdine, from the Golden Coast Conference (GCC); Bucknell, from the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC); Stanford, from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF); Harvard, from the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC); and UC Davis, from the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). The remaining two teams, Southern California (MPSF) and Pacific (GCC), were selected at-large without geographical restrictions. Stanford, the #1 seed, and Pacific, the #2 seed, were seeded into the semifinal round, with the other five teams competing for the final two spots.[7][8]

Opening round – November 30, 2019

  • Bucknell 13, Harvard 12

Opening round – Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019

  • Southern California 15, Bucknell 9
  • Pepperdine 15, UC Davis 12

Semifinals – Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019

  • Stanford 15, Southern California 14 (3OT)
  • Pacific 17, Pepperdine 13

Championship – Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019

  • Stanford 13, Pacific 8

2020 ChampionshipEdit

The tournament was played at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center, on the campus of USC in Los Angeles. UCLA's Nicolas Saveljic was chosen as the most valuable player after the Bruins defeated the Trojans for their 12th title.

Opening round – Thursday, March 18, 2021

  • UCLA 19, California Baptist 14
  • USC 18, Bucknell 9

Semifinals – Saturday, March 20, 2021

  • No. 3 UCLA 11, No. 1 Stanford 10
  • No. 4 USC 12, No. 2 California 10

Championship – Sunday, March 21, 2021

  • No. 3 UCLA 7, No. 4 USC 6

2021 ChampionshipEdit

The tournament was held at the Spieker Aquatics Center, on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles. California defeated Southern California 13-12 to win the 2021 NCAA water polo national championship. It was California's 15th title. Nikos Papanikolaou was the MVP of the tournament.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/m_water_polo_champs_records/2013-14/champs.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "New details shed light on demise of swim center".
  3. ^ NCAA Men's Water Polo Committee announces championship selections, NCAA.com, November 22, 2015
  4. ^ No. 1 UCLA Repeats as NCAA Champion, NCAA.com, December 6, 2015
  5. ^ "NCAA Championships Next". Stanford Athletics. November 21, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  6. ^ "Stanford hosts USC for NCAA title". December 1, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  7. ^ https://www.ncaa.com/news/waterpolo-men/article/2019-11-24/2019-national-collegiate-mens-water-polo-championship, NCAA.com, November 26, 2019
  8. ^ "Pacific Earns Semifinal Bid for NCAA Tournament".

External linksEdit