Top-Seeded Water Polo Ready to Defend GCC Championship Title

April 26, 2017


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Game Week Preview
Golden Coast Conference Championship
(4) Azusa Pacific (13-13)/(5) Santa Clara (8-19) vs. (1) No. 13 San Diego State (17-13)
GCC Semifinals | Saturday, April 29 | Sullivan Aquatic Center | Santa Clara, Calif. | 1:30 p.m. PT

TBD vs. (1) No. 13 San Diego State (17-13)
GCC Third-Place Game| Sunday, April 30 | Sullivan Aquatic Center | Santa Clara, Calif. | Noon PT
GCC Championship | Sunday, April 30 | Sullivan Aquatic Center | Santa Clara, Calif. | 1:30 p.m. PT

- No. 13 San Diego State will begin its Golden Coast Conference Championship defense this weekend at Santa Clara. The top-seeded Aztecs received a bye into Saturday’s semifinal round (1:30 p.m. PT) and will face the winner of Friday’s first-round game between fourth-seeded Azusa Pacific and fifth-seeded SCU.

- The Championship will take place at Santa Clara’s Sullivan Aquatic Center. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and students. Sunday’s admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12 and students. Cash is the only form of payment at the venue. Advance tickets are available by contacting the Santa Clara ticket office weekdays between 8:30 a.m. PT and 5 p.m. PT at (408) 554-4660 or To purchase tickets online, visit

- SDSU is the top-seeded team in the bracket for the fourth time in four years after it posted its fourth undefeated Golden Coast campaign. The Aztecs went 7-0 in league action to capture their fourth consecutive regular-season championship. With its effort, San Diego State is 26-0 all-time in GCC games.

- Prior to the Azusa Pacific-Santa Clara first-round game at 1:30 p.m. PT, No. 3 LMU will face No. 6 California Baptist at 10:30 a.m. PT and be followed by No. 2 Pacific and No. 7 Fresno Pacific. Live stats will be available for all games at

- San Diego State is the defending champion of this weekend’s event and enters having made the final in each of the last three seasons. The Aztecs were defeated by LMU in the first two title games, including once in sudden-victory overtime (2014), and then downed Pacific in sudden-victory OT in the 2016 championship game in San Diego. SDSU is 4-2 all-time at the GCC Championship.

- The Scarlet and Black will be facing Azusa Pacific or Santa Clara for the first time at the Golden Coast Championship. San Diego State has faced LMU three times (1-2), Pacific twice (2-0) and California Baptist once (1-0).

- The Aztecs are looking to secure the GCC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship for a second straight season. San Diego State advanced to the national tournament in 2007 and 2008 as an at-large entrant before last year’s run to the automatic berth.

- San Diego State only faced APU and SCU once this season and beat both by an average of 5.5 goals. The Aztecs saw Azusa Pacific three games ago and won, 8-3, despite suffering through some offensive struggles in the early going. As for Santa Clara, SDSU played host to the Broncos way back on Feb. 10 and won, 12-6.

- In both of its games vs. its potential semifinal foe, San Diego State allowed a single-digit goal total. That trend has proved fruitful for the Aztecs over the last seven weeks. Since the calendar turned to March and into April, SDSU is 12-2 in its last 14 games when holding its opponent to nine goals or fewer. The Aztecs have allowed their opponents to score 10 or more goals four times since the start of March and went 0-4 in those outings. SDSU is 0-10 this season when allowing 10-plus goals.

- SDSU enters the tournament with a 4-0 all-time record vs. Azusa Pacific and a 7-1 mark vs. Santa Clara. Against the rest of the field, San Diego State is 32-0 vs. second-seeded Pacific, 16-15 vs. third-seeded LMU, 17-2 vs. sixth-seeded California Baptist and 6-0 vs. seventh-seeded Fresno Pacific.

- On Tuesday, the GCC announced its postseason awards and SDSU had its fair share of honorees. Caroline Israels was named the player of the year after sharing the award in 2015. She, along with Alyssa Diacono, also landed on the all-conference first team. Kate McDonnell was voted as a second-team all-league goalkeeper and Ioli Benekou was an honorable mention choice. Shelby Kraft, meanwhile, became the third Aztec in three years to earn a spot on the all-freshman team.

- Israels, the team leader in goals, assists and steals, is the first player in school history to be named conference player of the year and not share the award. The senior shared the GCC’s top honor in 2015 as a sophomore and Heather Moody was the co-player of the year in the Southern Division of the MPSF in 1996. Israels is also the first Aztec to earn all-league first-team honors three times.

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