The Pomona-Pitzer men's water polo team was selected as the unanimous favorite to finish atop the standings in the 2019 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Preseason Poll as voted upon by the league's member head coaches.
Pomona-Pitzer enters the 2019 season having won three straight SCIAC regular season titles and back-to-back-to-back SCIAC Postseason Tournament championships since 2016. The Sagehens received nine first place votes and 81 points in this year's preseason poll after posting a 14-0 record in conference action in 2018 and earning the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament. The Sagehens defeated California Lutheran, 15-8 in the semifinals, before downing Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), 11-4 in the tournament championship contest. Pomona-Pitzer then fell to Long Beach State in the NCAA Championship. The Sagehens begin their campaign for a fourth straight tournament crown on Saturday, September 7 at the UC San Diego Triton Tournament.
After a second place finish in the standings a year ago with a 10-4 record, Whittier was tabbed to finish second in the 2019 preseason vote after amassing 69 points. The Poets earned the second seed in last year's SCIAC playoffs after winning a tiebreaker. Whittier, which won six of its final eight games of the regular season, fell to third-seeded CMS in the semifinals of the SCIAC Tournament. The Poets return to action in 2019 beginning at the UCSD Triton Tournament on September 7.
CMS clinched the third seed in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament a year ago backed by a 10-4 record in league action. The Stags, who finished third in this year's preseason vote with 66 points, defeated Whittier, 13-6 in the semifinals of the conference tournament before falling to Pomona-Pitzer by an 11-4 score in the SCIAC Tournament championship match. CMS will also begin its 2019 season at the UCSD Triton Tournament on September 7.
Last season's tournament fourth seed, Cal Lutheran posted an 8-6 record in SCIAC play and edged Redlands in the tiebreaker to secure the final spot in the tournament field. The Kingsmen won six of their final seven games of the 2018 regular season before falling to top-seeded Pomona-Pitzer, 15-8 in the semifinals of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. Cal Lutheran received 52 points in the 2019 preseason poll and is selected to finish fourth again this year. The Kingsmen begin the new season at the Brown Invitational on September 7.
Placing sixth in the final standings a year ago with a 7-7 league record, Chapman picked up 41 points in the preseason vote and was slotted to finish fifth in 2019. The Panthers edged Redlands (39 points) in the preseason vote after the Bulldogs finished fifth with an 8-6 tally in 2018. Chapman will begin its current slate on September 7 at the UCSD Triton Tournament, while Redlands will compete at the Air Force Academy Tournament.
Finishing eighth a year ago, Occidental received 24 points and was voted to finish seventh in 2019, while La Verne (22 points) was picked to finish eighth after placing seventh in 2018. The Tigers open up play on Sunday, September 8 against Citrus College, while the Leopards will compete at the Air Force Tournament beginning on Saturday, September 7. Caltech rounds out the preseason poll and will begin the new season on Saturday, September 7 against Cal State Fullerton.
In the Fall of 2019, USA Water Polo will sponsor the first-ever Division III national championship in the sport of water polo. The Division III water polo championship is a joint effort by the Division III water polo institutions and USA Water Polo to provide Division III student-athletes the opportunity for a meaningful postseason competition in addition to offering an incentive for other Division III institutions to add the sport on a varsity level.
Beginning with men's water polo in December of 2019, and followed by women's water polo in May of 2020, two teams from both the SCIAC and the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), will square off in a four-team Division III national championship tournament. The SCIAC will assume hosting responsibilities for both genders in the first year of the championship (2019-20). Hosting responsibilities will then rotate every other year. Previously, teams competed in the NCAA Championship Tournament which includes Division I programs. This new championship will provide all Division III programs a competitive experience and the chance to vie for a national championship. The championship will take place Saturday and Sunday, December 7-8, 2019.
2019 SCIAC Men's Water Polo Preseason Poll
1. Pomona-Pitzer - 81 points (9 first place votes)
2. Whittier - 69 points
3. CMS - 66 points
4. Cal Lutheran - 52 points
5. Chapman - 41 points
6. Redlands - 39 points
7. Occidnental - 24 points
8. La Verne - 22 points
9. Caltech - 11 points