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Junior Claire Pierce was named KAP7 WWPA Player of the Week after scoring 21 goals and becoming the program's all-time leading scorer last week.

Water polo team earns No. 4 seed for championships and Player of the Week honors

  • April 18, 2012

The Cal State East Bay water polo team learned its WWPA Tournament fate on Wednesday, earning the No. 4 seed for the 2012 championships, to be held April 27-29 in La Jolla. The Pioneers (17-11) improved on last year’s seeding by one place and are set to play No. 5 seed Santa Clara in the opening round of the tournament. In addition, the conference announced that junior Claire Pierce was named KAP7 WWPA Co-Player of the Week after leading East Bay in scoring last weekend.

Cal State East Bay finished the 2012 regular season with a 10-6 record against conference opponents, including a 4-2 mark in the last six games of the campaign. The Pioneers returned to the top four in the tournament seedings after claiming the No. 5 spot for last year’s championships that saw them earn their best-ever finish, claiming fourth.

Loyola Marymount captured the No. 1 seed in the tournament for the fourth consecutive time, while 2011 champions UC San Diego, which upset the Lions for the title last season, claimed the No. 2 seed. Third-seeded CSU Bakersfield finished the regular season with an 11-4 record against WWPA foes and the Broncos, who are 1-2 against the Pioneers this season, grabbed the No. 5 seed. Cal State Monterey Bay is the No. 6 seed, while Sonoma State and Colorado State are seeded seventh and eighth, respectively. Cal State San Bernardino, which went winless in the WWPA this season, rounds out the tournament field as the No. 9 seed.

The Coyotes and Rams will meet in the tournament’s opening game on April 27 at 12 p.m. The Pioneers and Broncos will follow at 1:30 p.m. before the Roadrunners and Otters face off at 3 p.m. The Tritons and Seawolves are set to play at 4:30 p.m. and the Lions will open the championships against the winner of the first game of the day at 6 p.m. The 2012 WWPA Tournament will be held at the Canyonview Aquatics Center on the UC San Diego campus in La Jolla.

East Bay will enter the tournament coming off a 3-2 weekend to close out the regular season that included wins over WWPA opponents Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State Monterey Bay and first-round challenger Santa Clara. During the weekend, Pierce scored 21 goals, becoming the program’s all-time leading goal scorer. The junior took the top spot in the record books from Liz Warren (2008-11), whose previous mark of 241 fell when Pierce brought her season total to 83 and her career mark to 260.

The Perth, Australia native scored six times in an 18-13 win over Cal State San Bernardino before notching 15 goals in four games during The Bronco, including a five-goal performance against Cal State Monterey Bay. The Player of the Week honors are the second of the season and third of her career for Pierce, who shared the award with Sonoma State’s Ariel Lockshaw, who made 36 saves over the weekend for the Seawolves. The award also marked the seventh time an East Bay water polo player has been recognized by the WWPA since returning to Division II in 2009-10. Pierce joins seven other Pioneer student-athletes who have claimed Player of the Week honors this season, indcluding men's basketball players Mark Samuels and Roshun Wynne, softball players Sara Holdridge and Taylor Neumann, golfer Chris Herzog and teammate Jayme Pekarske.

Cal State East Bay will open the 2012 WWPA Championships on April 27 against fifth-seeded Santa Clara. The Pioneers and Broncos will get underway at 1:30 p.m. at the Canyonview Aquatics Center on the UC San Diego campus in La Jolla. Complete tournament schedules and results are available here.

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