Los Angeles, California - The 10th-ranked UC San Diego men’s water polo team has been selected to repeat as champions of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) according to a preseason coaches’ poll released Wednesday. The Tritons received the maximum amount of first-place votes with six, totaling 36 points.

UCSD is led by 2013 NCAA Division II Coach of the Year Denny Harper and Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) All-Americans Joe Dietrich (Lafayette/Acalanes HS), Cameron Ravanbach (La Jolla/La Jolla HS) and David Higginson (San Diego/The Bishop’s School).

No. 11 UC Davis, last year’s regular-season champion, is tabbed to finish second after receiving one first-place vote. No. 14 Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, Air Force, California Baptist and Fresno Pacific round out the rest of the rankings.

The Tritons will open up conference play against WWPA newcomer Fresno Pacific on Friday, Sept. 26. UCSD will go up against every WWPA opponent once, except LMU who they will play twice, before starting the postseason at the WWPA Championship.

The 2014 WWPA Championship will be hosted by Loyola Marymount at the Burns Aquatics Center on November 21-23. The winner earns the WWPA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, hosted by UCSD at Canyonview Aquatic Center on Dec. 6-7.

UCSD will start the season off by hosting the 2014 Triton Invitational this weekend, facing Cal Lutheran at 8 a.m. and Cal at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday and Redlands at 1:30 p.m. and UCLA at 4:25 p.m. on Sunday.

2014 WWPA Men’s Water Polo Preseason Coaches' Poll
Institution (First-Place Votes), Points
1. #10 UC San Diego (6), 36 
2. #11 UC Davis (1), 30 
3. #14 Loyola Marymount, 26
4. Santa Clara, 21
5. Air Force, 17
6. California Baptist, 11
7. Fresno Pacific, 6