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Third-Seeded Aztecs Ready for Big West Tournament

SDSU will open Big West Tournament action on Friday vs. UCSB.
SDSU will open Big West Tournament action on Friday vs. UCSB.

April 24, 2013

SAN DIEGO -

Big West Tournament BracketGet Acrobat Reader

The eighth-ranked San Diego State women's water polo team will head into the Big West Water Polo Tournament this weekend as the field's No. 3 seed. The championship is set to take place at UC Irvine's Anteater Aquatic Complex, April 26-28.

The Aztecs will begin their tournament run on Friday, April 26, against sixth-seeded and No. 16 UC Santa Barbara at 5:15 p.m. SDSU split two contests this year against the Gauchos, defeating UCSB in February at the UCI Invitational, 11-6, before falling in a conference game at UC Santa Barbara in early April, 8-5.

Friday's winner will move onto the semifinals on Saturday at 5:15 p.m., and will face the winner of the (2) UC Irvine-(7) UC Davis match. The losers will also compete on Saturday in the consolation bracket at 1:45 p.m. PT.

Against its potential Saturday foes, San Diego State lost two of three to UC Irvine this season, but beat the Anteaters in their own pool at the UCI Invite. The Aztecs, meanwhile, defeated UC Davis in their only matchup this year, which took place at Aztec Aquaplex. Regardless of SDSU's results on Friday and Saturday, it will play on Sunday at a time to be determined. Nevertheless, the championship match is scheduled for Sunday at 4:15 p.m. PT.

On the other side of the bracket are No. 7 Hawai'i, No. 20 Pacific, No. 10 Long Beach State and No. 14 Cal State Northridge. In Friday's first round, (1) Hawaii-(8) Pacific will face off at 12 p.m. PT and (4) Long Beach State-(5) Cal State Northridge will play at 1:45 p.m. PT.

Up for grabs is the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. This season's national tournament is set for Harvard's Blodgett Pool, May 10-12, in Boston, Mass. The race for the automatic bid figures to be close. Of the 28 Big West games, 24 have been won by four goals or less, 17 by two goals or less and 11 were decided by a single goal.

Leading the Aztecs in their quest for a tournament title and NCAA Championship bid are team leaders Amber Pezzolla and Anique Hermann. Pezzolla leads the team in goals scored with 67 on the season and Hermann leads the team in assists with 38. Goalkeeper Rachel Mitchell has an impressive 332 saves in 30 games on the season.

Heading into the conference tournament, the Aztecs, winners of two straight, are 22-9 overall and finished 5-2 in the Big West. San Diego State placed third in the conference behind co-champions No. 6 UC Irvine (6-1) and No. 7 Hawai'i (6-1). UH clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament as a result of its head-to-head 12-11 overtime win over UC Irvine on March 14.

Every game at the Big West Tournament will be streamed live via the BigWest.TV platform. Tickets to the games will be sold at the Anteater Aquatics Complex beginning one hour prior to the first scheduled event on event days. All-session tickets are $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for youth (ages 6-17) or students with ID. Single-day tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for youth and students. The Anteater Aquatics Complex is a cash-only venue.