SANTA BARBARA — Senior Cortney Collyer scored a team-high four goals to pace the UC Irvine women's water polo team to its third straight Big West Conference Tournament title with an 11-5 triumph Sunday at UC Santa Barbara.
The win, the seventh straight for the No. 10-ranked Anteaters (21-8) gives UCI an automatic NCAA Tournament berth, the first NCAA Tournament trip in the program's history. This is the first year the Big West Tournament winner was granted an at-large berth.
UCI, which has won 11 of its last 12 and is now 8-0 in the three-year history of the Big West Tournament, is the No. 5 seed in the eight-team NCAA Tournament that runs May 13 through 15 at the University of Michigan.
UCI will play No. 4-seeded USC (18-6) in the quarterfinals on May 13. USC, the reigning NCAA champion, which finished fifth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, defeated UCI, 14-4, in their only meeting this season on March 12.
Collyer, the Big West Tournament MVP, helped Coach Dan Klatt's squad seize a 6-2 halftime lead. UCI led, 10-4, after three periods as senior Lauren Davis matched her career high with 13 saves.
USC includes Newport Harbor High products Kaleigh Gilchrist, Nicolina McCall and Colleen McCall.
Gilchrist (15 goals) is a freshman center, Nicolina McCall (11 goals) is a sophomore center and Colleen McCall is a freshman driver.
The NCAA field's top three seeds are Stanford, Cal and UCLA, respectively.
UC Irvine 4, Pacific 0
INDIAN WELLS — Junior Chris Kearney won in singles and doubles in Sunday's final to pace the Anteaters to their second straight Big West Conference Tournament title at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Kearney defeated Artem Gramma, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 1 singles and teamed with senior Stephen Stege on an 8-6 triumph at No. 1 doubles.
UCI (19-7) earns a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, for which pairings will be announced Tuesday.
It's the 14th Big West crown for UCI, which received singles wins from Shan Sondhu and Steven Henderson, as well as a doubles victory from Ryan Cheung and Corona del Mar High product Fabian Matthews.
UC Irvine 7,
Cal State Bakersfield 0
BAKERSFIELD — Sophomore left-hander Matt Whitehouse allowed just three hits in eight innings to help the visiting Anteaters win the rubber game of the nonconference series Sunday.
Whitehouse struck out a career-best seven in his longest outing as an Anteater. He did not walk a batter and improved to 3-0.
Senior Drew Hillman went three for five with a double and one run batted in to pace six UCI players with at least two hits.