AZUSA, Calif.-- After five years of competing as an independent program Azusa Pacific women’s water polo has found a conference home.
Seven universities from the state of California have come to agreement to form a new collegiate women’s water polo conference that will begin competition in the spring of 2014. The new league, which will be called the Golden Coast Conference, will also include California Baptist, Fresno Pacific, Loyola Marymount, San Diego State, Santa Clara and Pacific.
"We’re pleased to be charter members of the Golden Coast Conference and to be aligned with so many fine universities that will advance women’s collegiate water polo in California," said Director of Athletics Gary Pine.
"This is our first conference alignment for water polo, and while we expect to compete and show well, there are some excellent programs in this conference that will challenge us and help us grow as program. The promise for the GCC is great, and I’m excited we’re going to be a part of it."
The Golden Coast Conference will begin competition next season and will feature a conference schedule in which each team will play each other once. The final conference standings will then decide seedings for an annual conference championship, which will be held in late April.
The new league will apply for an automatic bid to the National Collegiate Women’s Water Polo Championships this summer. In addition, the membership is currently searching for a commissioner and drafting league bylaws.
“I am very excited about joining the GCC. I think it is a great combination of talented teams and will put us in a conference where we will always have the top contenders shifting,” said head coach Julie Snodgrass, who will enter her third season at the helm of the Cougar program in 2014. “I think it has the potential to become one of the top water polo conferences in the nation and it will help with recruiting as we continue our ascent as a program. We are very excited for this opportunity and look forward to our coming year.”
San Diego State and the University of the Pacific are moving from the Big West Conference while LMU and Santa Clara are moving from the Western Water Polo Association. California Baptist is in the final stages of an NCAA transition, and may be eligible for championship competition this upcoming 2013-14 season, while Azusa Pacific and Fresno Pacific are making the transition to the NCAA and could be eligible the following season.