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STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford, the only women's water polo team that has competed at every NCAA Championship since its inception in 2001, will make its 20th consecutive appearance in 2021. The Cardinal earned the No. 2 seed via an at-large berth to the field when the NCAA Women's Water Polo Committee announced the bracket on Monday evening.
Ten teams will be vying for an NCAA crown. The top six teams have been placed in the bracket; the remaining four teams will compete for the last two berths in the bracket via two opening-round games.
The opening-round games will be played on Wednesday, May 12 at Spieker Aquatics Center on the campus of UCLA. The winners will advance to the championship, which will be held at the same facility May 14-16. The 2021 championship will be an eight-team, single-elimination tournament (seven games).
The Cardinal will begin its tournament on Friday, May 14 at 4 p.m. PT against the winner of Fresno State (12-5) and California Lutheran (7-0). Those two teams will meet at 1 p.m. next Wednesday.
Stanford, the defending champion, will be looking for its seventh NCAA championship in 10 seasons and eighth in program history. The Cardinal has advanced to the title game each of the past 10 years, winning it all in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Stanford, 12-5 overall this season, has accumulated a record of 275-33 (.892) since 2010.
In the other opening-round game, Marist (8-0) will face Salem (18-11) at 11 a.m. The winner will be placed in the championship bracket to play top-seeded USC (19-1) on May 14 at 12 p.m. Rounding out the bracket will be No. 4 Arizona State (13-11) facing Michigan (21-4) at 2 p.m. and No. 3 UCLA (13-4) competing against Hawaii (11-1) at 6 p.m.