BRIDGEPORT, Pa. -- The road to the University of Southern California and the 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship will run through Lewisburg, Pa. for the eight qualifying teams for the 2014 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championship set for Friday-Sunday, April 25-27, at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.
The champion of the league title tournament earns the CWPA's automatic berth to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women's Water Polo Championship on Friday-Sunday, May 9-11, at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on the campus of USC. Due to a new format for the NCAA Championship, it is probable the CWPA Champion will have to compete in a play-in game during the week leading up to the NCAA Championship.
However, the championship at Bucknell will be unlike any of the championships that preceded it as the league membership and the Varsity Governance Council elected at the Annual Meeting to change the format from 12-teams to eight teams.
The championship was last eight teams in 2010 before expanding to 11 teams in 2011 and 12 teams in 2012.
In addition, the name of the event changes as the tournament was previously known as the CWPA Eastern Championship.
Due to the decrease in the number of the teams, the format for the championship changes as the Top Three teams from both the Western (Gannon University, Hartwick College, Indiana University, Notre Dame College, University of Michigan) and Southern (Brown University, Bucknell, George Washington University, Harvard University, Mercyhurst University, Princeton University) Divisions along with the league's Division III champion claim automatic berths. The final spot in the field belongs to an at-large team.
The Division III Champion comes from the ranks of Carthage College, Connecticut College, Grove City College, Macalester College, Monmouth College, Penn State Behrend, Utica College and Washington & Jefferson College as the eight teams clashed for the CWPA Division III Championship on Saturday-Sunday, April 12-13 at Macalester in Saint Paul, Minn. This season markes only the second year that a Division III team will compete for the league title as last year's 12-team format allowed Division III champion Connecticut to earn a spot in the field.
Seven of the eight teams to make the field were known prior to the Seeding Call this morning (April 15) with the league's Varsity Governance Council. In the wake of the call, the final slot in the field and the seeding for the tournament are both known and locked in to decide which CWPA program claims the league's automatic berth to the 2014 NCAA Championship field.
Following the results of this weekend's division championship tournaments, seven teams qualified their way into the CWPA Championship field via wins at the Division III or Southern Championships, while the Western Division teams qualified based on their regular season finish:
- Division III Championship: Division III No. 9 Connecticut College (7-3 W vs. Division III No. 10 Washington & Jefferson College)
- Southern Division Championship: No. 10 Princeton University (11-4 W vs. Brown University - First Place)
- Southern Division Championship: Brown University (11-4 L vs. No. 10 Princeton University - Second Place)
- Southern Division Championship: Bucknell University (9-6 W vs. Harvard University - Third Place)
- Western Division: No. 14 Indiana University (First Place)
- Western Division: No. 17 Hartwick College (Second Place)
- Western Division: No. 18 University of Michigan
The final position in the field was selected as an At-Large team by the league's Varsity Governance Council from the five Division I/II (George Washington, Gannon, Harvard, Mercyhurst, Notre Dame) and seven Division III programs (Carthage, Grove City, Macalester, Monmouth, Penn State Behrend, Utica, Washington & Jefferson), that did not qualify for the CWPA Championship via an automatic berth.
Based on regular and postseason performance both in conference and against non-conference foes, the Varsity Governance Council selected the Crimson of Harvard as the At-Large Team.
Per league guidelines, the Western and Southern Division Champions receive either the No. 1 or 2 seeds for the championship and will be seeded by the Varsity Governance Council using defined criteria.
The remaining six positions in the field are seeded by the Varsity Governance Council as the group selected from among the remaining four automatics, Division III champion and At-Large pick for the No. 3-to-8 spots.
The following criteria were employed by ranking/selection committees in selecting participants for CWPA Championship competition:
- Won-lost record
- Head-to-head competition
- Results versus teams under consideration
- Results versus common opponents
- Late-season performance-defined as the last 10 games including conference championship tournaments (strength and results)
Based on the criteria, Western Division Champion Indiana receives the No. 1 seed, while Southern Division Champion Princeton will play out of the No. 2 position.
Due to strength of schedule and overall performance, the Varsity Governance Council selected Western Division runner-up Hartwick, Western Division third place team Michigan, Southern Division runner-up Brown and Southern Division third place team Bucknell as the No. 3-to-6 seeds.
Harvard and Division III Champion Connecticut College earn the No. 7 and 8 positions in the eight team field.
The 2014 championship will mark the second time the Bison have hosted the CWPA Championship in women's competition since the NCAA recognized the sport in 2001. In the history of the championship, Michigan (2013, 2008), Brown (2012, 2006, 2001, 1995, 1993, 1992), Indiana (2011, 2005), the University of Maryland (2010, 1998), Harvard (2009, 2003, 1999, 1997, 1990, 1988), Princeton (2007, 2002, 2000, 1996), Wesleyan University (1994) and Bucknell (2004, 1991, 1989, 1987) have all been the site of the league's penultimate event.
Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa.
|Friday, April 25, 2014||Game
|10:30||1st Seed -
|vs.||8th Seed -
University of Michigan
|vs.||5th Seed -
|vs.||7th Seed -
|3:00||6th Seed -
|vs.||3rd Seed -
|Saturday, April 26, 2014||Game
||vs.||Loser Game 1
|3:00||Loser Game 4
||vs.||Loser Game 3
|4:30||Winner Game 1
||vs.||Winner Game 2
|6:00||Winner Game 3
||vs.||Winner Game 4
|Sunday, April 27, 2014||Game No.
|9:00||Loser Game 6
||vs.||Loser Game 5
||vs.||Winner Game 6
|Noon||Loser Game 8
||vs.||Loser Game 7
|1:30||Winner Game 7
||vs.||Winner Game 8
|Teams listed first wear dark caps and are home on the scoreboard. Host team always wears dark caps and is listed first on the scoreboard regardless of seed.|