After a restful week and a half since its last match, T-No. 1 Cal women’s water polo will face off against No. 21 San Diego State on a neutral site in Morro Bay.
Cal (15-3, 3-0) held sole possession of the top ranking for one week, but has now been tied at No. 1 again by the defending champion Stanford. This should not change after a match against the Aztecs (10-12, 2-1), which the Bears should handle with relative ease.
Cal has been on a tear in March, with consecutive MPSF victories against top-10 teams in Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State.
With only two conference games remaining after its match against San Diego State, Cal is guaranteed to finish with a MPSF record above .500, a feat it hasn’t accomplished the last two years.
The Bears’ defense starred in a 6-3 triumph against the Sun Devils and senior defender Kindred Paul was recognized for her efforts with MPSF Player of the Week.
Paul was Cal’s fifth player to win the award this season, joining seniors Dora Antal and Anna Illes, junior Madison Tagg, and sophomore Emma Wright.
With a win against San Diego State, Cal would tie its 16-win total from last season with three games remaining on the schedule.
The only formidable challenger in these three matches will be No. 3 USC on April 7. In what has been a historic season, the Bears will have another chance to make history with a victory in Los Angeles.
For now, Cal will only have to be preoccupied with a unimposing foe in San Diego State. Cal head coach Coralie Simmons will likely rely on her depth in this match, as she has done against opponents of similar strength.
But in the uncharted waters that lie ahead for the Bears as a potential No. 1 seed, the powerful and balanced team that Cal has proved itself to be will need to be at peak performance to achieve its championship aspirations.
Dev Navani covers women’s water polo. Contact him at [email protected].