Stockton, Calif. - After coming within a heartbeat of the National Championship last season, the Pacific men's water polo team will return to the pool on September 6, as head coach James Graham announced the 2014 schedule.
The traditional NorCal and SoCal Tournaments highlight the non-conference slate, with Pacific serving as the host of the annual NorCal event Sept. 20-21. The Tigers will also head to tournaments at UC San Diego and UC Davis, before Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action begins.
"We have a one of the toughest schedules in the nation and we are looking forward to all the challenges that lie ahead," Graham said. "It will be great to host NorCal's this year and we are excited to bring some of the best water polo in the country here to Stockton."
After opening the season at the UC San Diego Tournament on Sept. 6-7, Pacific will hold its home opener on Sept. 13 at Chris Kjeldsen Pool in a triple-header against Golden West, West Valley and Orange Coast.
Chris Kjeldsen Pool and Delta College will welcome the top programs in the country at the NorCal Tournament on Sept. 20-21. The Tigers will then head to UC Davis for matches against Cal Baptist (Sept. 26), Navy and Cal Lutheran (Sept. 27).
MPSF play opens with a home game against Cal on October 3, before the Tigers head to UCLA for the SoCal Tournament (Oct. 11-12). After SoCal, MPSF action rounds out the rest of the slate.
Pacific is the defending regular season champion of the MPSF, which went 102-3 against other competition last season and lays claim to every National Championship in the 46 years of NCAA water polo.
On Oct. 18, Pacific visits UC Irvine, before road games at defending national champion and Tiger nemesis USC (Oct. 25) and Long Beach State (Oct. 26).
The Tigers return home for contests against UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 2) and UCLA (Nov. 8) before traveling to Stanford (Nov. 15). Pacific's regular season home finale is Nov. 16 against Pepperdine before the MPSF Tournament takes place in Long Beach from Nov 21-23.
Pacific is coming off the best season in the program's history, posting a 23-5 record and finishing No. 2 in the country as the NCAA Runner Up. The Tigers won their first ever MPSF regular season title with a 7-1 conference mark, and placed second at the MPSF Tournament to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Pacific downed Stanford in the semifinals before falling to USC in double overtime in the national championship game.