Franklin & Marshall College will go up against the University of California – Santa Cruz this weekend as the College hosts the 2013 Men's Water Polo Division III National Collegiate Club Championship for the first time.
The Diplomats will play the first game of the tournament, at 2:50 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at Kunkel Aquatic Center in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center. The tournament concludes Sunday, Nov. 3.
While this is the first national championship the Diplomats have hosted, F&M has hosted Mid-Atlantic Division B Championship water polo tournaments during the last four years. Collegiate Water Polo Association spokesman Ed Haas said teams are picked to host national championships on a rotating basis.
The national championship's two-day, 14-game water polo tournament features the top finishing Division III programs from the Heartland, Mid-Atlantic, Missouri Valley, New England, New York, North Atlantic, Sierra Pacific, and Southeast divisions, according to the Collegiate Water Polo Association.
F&M's water polo team, which organized eight years ago and became a member of the Collegiate Water Polo Association in 2010, is seeded ninth in the tournament. The Diplomats' co-captain, senior Tamaki Silver, said the 22-member team is "very young" this season. F&M is one of the few co-ed teams in the association. "The majority of the teams we'll be playing are all male," she said.
F&M will play three games, and Silver said she expects a tough fight in each. "It's just going to be a great experience for our team," she said. "For the first time we're playing in the nationals and we're hosting. This in itself is a huge accomplishment."
Water polo matches are similar to rugby or soccer. Each team has six players and one goalie, treading water for seven-minute quarters with a halftime break. Field positions are based on a division's finish at the 2012 Division III NCC championship.
Grinnell College (Heartland Division), Washington University in Saint Louis (Missouri Valley Division), Emory University (Southeast Division), Wesleyan University (New England Division), Tufts University (North Atlantic Division), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (New York Division), Carnegie Mellon University (Mid-Atlantic Division), the UC-Santa Cruz (Sierra Pacific Division) and the host Diplomats of the Mid-Atlantic Division will battle for the championship. The squads come from seven states: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York and Pennsylvania.
The 2013 Men's Water Polo Division III National Collegiate Club Championship will be streamed live online. Tickets for F&M students, faculty, staff and for senior citizens are $7 for the tournament and $5 for one day. Tickets for community members are $15 for the tournament and $10 for one day. There is no charge for children 12 and under.