Fresno State women’s water polo wins GCC tournament championship

The Fresno State water polo team pregame for their tournament matchup. Photo courtesy Fresno State Athletics.

The No. 11 nationally-ranked Fresno State women’s water polo team won its first Golden Coast Conference tournament title in program history.

The GCC first-seed Bulldogs faced a familiar opponent in conference opponent, San Diego State. Earlier in the season, Fresno State fell short to the Aztecs, 13-12. But this time Fresno State came out on top, winning 14-10. 

Women’s water polo was added four seasons ago. With the addition of winning the GCC tournament, the Bulldogs are also granted an automatic bid in the NCAA women’s water polo tournament. Fresno State also won a share GCC regular season title, which was split into a three-way tie with the University of the Pacfic and San Diego State.

“I’m so proud of how this team believed in themselves and each other and performed in a championship situation,” head coach Natalie Benson said in a news release. “Their teamwork and execution under pressure was so fun to witness. We made history today in many ways, and I’m excited for another first in our short existence as a program.” 

Emily Nicholson had a game-high four goals in the championship win. Claire Schade tallied a total of five points, combining for three goals and two assists. Goalkeeper Hope Stokes recorded 12 saves, the most she’s had in a game this season.

The NCAA selection show for women’s water polo will take place on Monday, May 3.

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