San Diego, California - Golden Coast regular-season champion and top-seeded San Diego State is set to compete for the GCC tournament title beginning Friday, April 25, at Burns Aquatics Center on the campus of LMU.
The Aztecs (22-11; 6-0 GCC) received a bye into the semifinal round as a result of their No. 1 seed and will play at 2:30 p.m. against either California Baptist or Pacific.
The fourth-seeded Lancers and the fifth-seeded Tigers will face each other on Thursday, April 24, at 3 p.m. PT for the right to face the 18th-ranked Aztecs on Friday. SDSU defeated California Baptist (20-10; 3-3 GCC) in its GCC opener, 6-5, back on March 1 at Aztec Aquaplex. As for UOP (12-16; 2-4 GCC), San Diego State downed the Tigers, 9-7, in February at the UCI Invitational before posting a 7-6 victory in Stockton two weeks ago.
The CBU/UOP-San Diego State clash, along with all tournament games, will be available to watch online via the LMU Sports Network at LMULions.com/all-access. A loss on Friday will drop the Aztecs to Saturday’s third-place game at 1 p.m. A win, however, will send SDSU to the title game, which is slated for a 2:30 p.m. start. The other side of the bracket features No. 2 LMU and No. 7 Fresno Pacific, and No. 3 Santa Clara and No. 6 Azusa Pacific.
The Lancers, who are receiving votes in the latest CWPA top-20 poll, head into their quarterfinal game on quite a roll. CBU has won 10 of its last 11 games and dropped its finale at SCU by a narrow, 15-14, margin. The Tigers, meanwhile, have lost five of their last six outings, including three straight. CBU and UOP met on March 29 in Riverside with the Lancers edging the Tigers in overtime, 10-9.
With the automatic bye into the semifinal round, SDSU is assured to match its second-best conference tournament finish in school history. San Diego State can finish no lower than fourth, which would equal last season’s effort in the Big West tourney and its 1998 MPSF tourney performance. The 1996 squad was the MPSF runner-up and represents the best tournament finish in school history.
The Aztecs are coming off a 1-1 week where they clinched the outright regular-season title before dropping their regular-season finale. SDSU beat Azusa Pacific on the road in come-from-behind fashion, 9-5, to complete the league schedule unharmed. Then two days later, San Diego State fell at No. 14 UC San Diego, 8-5, in the yearly Harper Cup game.
On Tuesday, the Golden Coast announced its postseason awards, which was highlighted by a league-best three first-team performers in Ioli Benekou, Anique Hermann and Rachel Mitchell. Benekou was also named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year and voted to the all-freshman team along with Alyssa Diacono, who was an honorable mention selection.
The aforementioned quartet will look to help the Aztecs match their season win total from a season ago with just one victory this week. Two wins and a conference tournament championship will lift SDSU to 24 victories, which will be the program’s most since winning 31 in 2008.