ROHNERT PARK, Calif. – The Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) has added Fresno Pacific University as a member to its women's water polo conference, raising the number of teams in the league to seven for the 2017-18 academic year, it was announced by WWPA commissioner Christy Medigovich on Wednesday.
"We are pleased, and we are proud to welcome Fresno Pacific University women's water polo to the family of the Western Water Polo Association," said Medigovich. "In Fresno Pacific, we have added an institution with a strong academic reputation and athletic tradition."
"They are committed to the conference's vision of strengthening our community to create more opportunity and healthy competition at the Division II level," Medigovich explained. "We look forward to having the Sunbirds join us for next season."
Fresno Pacific, which finished the 2016 regular season at 9-15 overall and 1-6 in conference play, will play its final season in the Golden Coast Conference (GCC) this spring. The nine wins by the Sunbirds last season marked the highest total since 2012. FPU is led by Bryan Suhovy, who is entering his 10th season as the head coach of the Fresno Pacific women's program in 2017; he has been the only head coach in program history since the team's inception in 2007.
"This is a great opportunity for our women's water polo program and we are excited to join the WWPA," said Fresno Pacific Director of Athletics Aaron Henderson. "The move aligns us with like-minded institutions and will improve the student-athlete experience as we compete in a conference with fellow NCAA Division II programs. We are thrilled with the opportunity to put our student-athletes in a position to succeed at the national level."
"It was great to be a part of the newly formed GCC and it was an honor to be involved in the inaugural season. We thank them for all the support and opportunities," said FPU head women's water polo coach Bryan Suhovy. "As a program, the move to the WWPA, which is a true Division II conference, is one we are extremely excited for. Commissioner Christy Medigovich has been great in helping us with the transition, and sharing the vision of the WWPA, which aligned with the FPU women's water polo program. It's an exciting time for our program and all of our student-athletes are extremely excited about this new adventure."
Fresno Pacific will join Cal State East Bay, Cal State Monterey Bay, Gannon, Mercyhurst, Sonoma State and UC San Diego as the seven WWPA women's members when the 2018 spring season gets underway. The move aligns the men's and women's programs at FPU into the same conference; the men joined the WWPA in 2014.
The WWPA competes within the NCAA and qualifies for the NCAA's automatic bid to the National Collegiate Water Polo Championships for both the men (fall) and women (spring). The WWPA features a championship tournament at the conclusion of both the men's and women's seasons, with the winner earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The men's championships normally run the third weekend of November while the women's takes place the final weekend of April.
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