Men’s Water Polo | November 21, 2021
Another strong season has secured yet another ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the USC men’s water polo team. It’ll be the 17th consecutive appearance in the tourney for the Trojans, who earned an at-large berth into this 2021 National Collegiate Men’s Water Polo Championship. At 17-2 overall, USC is coming off a third-place finish at the MPSF Tournament and will go straight to the NCAA semifinals — hosted by UCLA at Spieker Aquatics Center.
Third-year head coach Marko Pintaric has kept the Trojans’ postseason success alive and well, having reached the NCAA semifinals in 2019 and the final in 2020. Pintaric will be looking for his first men’s national championship as head coach at USC, having helped the USC women win it all in six months ago. The USC men have won eight national championships during their last 16 trips to the tournament. In total, the Trojans have claimed 10 NCAA titles on the men’s side entering this 2021 campaign.
USC has a direct trip to the NCAA semifinals at 2 p.m. on December 4, awaiting the winner of an opening-round clash between Long Beach State and UC Davis. UCLA hosts this year’s tourney, and is an automatic qualifier out of the MPSF.
In the first opening-round game, Princeton (25-7) will host Fordham (24-6) on Nov. 27. The winner will advance to the second opening-round game to play host UCLA (19-3) at 3 p.m. on Dec. 2, with the winner advancing to the championship bracket to play California (20-4) at 4 p.m. on Dec. 4. In the third opening-round game, Long Beach State (22-5) will play UC Davis (18-8) at 12 p.m. on Dec. 2 at Spieker Aquatics Center, with the winner advancing to the championship bracket to play USC (17-2 at 2 p.m. on Dec. 4). The NCAA championship game will be played at 2 p.m. on Dec. 5.
Conferences receiving automatic qualification included the Collegiate Water Polo Association (Fordham), Golden Coast Conference (Long Beach State), Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (UCLA), Northeast Water Polo Conference (Princeton) and the Western Water Polo Association (UC Davis). The remaining two teams were selected at-large without geographical restrictions.