Kalbus Invitational Uniting Power Programs in Women’s Water Polo

UC Irvine - Kalbus Invitational

Kalbus Invitational Highlights Spectacular Weekend of Water Polo Action

The Barbara Kalbus Invitational—previously known as the UCI Invitational—is the most competitive tournament of the women’s NCAA regular season. It is an invitational, and nine of the nation’s current top-10 teams—and 13 of the top 16—will travel to Irvine for three days of competition.

The 2024 Barbara Kalbus Invitational Tournament Central

Over the past 16 years, only three teams have won this tournament; USC (8 times), Stanford (5 times), UCLA (3 times). Every winner has played for the national championship; eight Kalbus winners have also captured NCAA titles. Oh, and the CWPA poll is almost sure to change from this week.

1) UCLA (10-0; 0-0 MPSF); A closer than comfortable 14-12 win last Saturday over Arizona State; the Bruins and Sun Devils were tied at 10 going into the final period. They open the UCI tournament against Cal State Fullerton.

2) Hawai’i (8-1; 0-0 Big West); This weekend presents a monumental test for Head Coach Maureen Cole’s squad. Their best-ever finish in this tournament was third place in 2022. The Rainbow Wahine have already beaten USC and Stanford this year—first time ever in same year and both were #1 in the country. They open against Pomona-Pitzer.

3) Fresno State (10-3; 0-0 GCC); Bulldogs open against Biola; a win puts them in a second round match against winner of Cal vs. UC-San Diego.

4) Stanford (7-2; 0-0 MPSF); The Cardinal are two-time defending NCAA champions as well as 2022 and 2023 Kalbus Invite winners. They’re down players due to the 2024 Paris Olympics; the path to a third-straight Kalbus title starts against UC Santa Barbara.

5) USC (5-2; 0-0 MPSF); An early dip in Head Coach Casey Moon’s return were losses to Hawai’i and Fresno State. The Trojans—who beat UC-Irvine last week in Irvine—open against Indiana and would face Stanford on Day Two… if both win.

6) Cal (6-1; 0-0 MPSF); Golden Bears have perhaps the tournament’s best goalie in Isabel Williams; they have never won a Kalbus Invite title; best finish was third place last year—after two years off due to Covid 19. Cal opens against UC San Diego.

7) Arizona State (12-2; 0-0 MPSF); The Sun Devils’ better-than-expected showing continued with an inspired performance in Westwood against the Bruins. It’s the second time ASU has lost to UCLA; first by five goals and then by two. The Sun Devils open on Friday against Long Beach State. 

8) Michigan (9-5; 0-0 CWPA); This is a great test for the Wolverines; they’ll open against host Anteaters. It’s Michigan’s last trip to California for regular season play; fifth place (2016) is the highest Big Blue has placed at the Kalbus.

9) Princeton (6-2; 0-0 CWPA); Tigers will stay East this weekend with matches against MAAC members La Salle in Philadelphia and at home against LIU.

10) UC-Irvine (4-6; 0-0); The Anteaters did not participate in their own tournament last year due to abuse allegations against a now former UCI player (which remain unproven). Coach Dan Klatt kept the team together and they qualified for NCAAs. 

11) Loyola Marymount (13-2; 0-0 GCC); Lions will not go to Irvine and hope to extend a hot start against CSUN, Cal State East Bay, Ottawa Arizona and University of Redlands this weekend.

12) Long Beach State (7-3; 0-0 Big West); The Beach opens against Arizona State; a win and they likely face Big West foe Hawai’i Saturday morning.

13 (T) UC-Santa Barbara (9-5; 0-0 Big West); Gauchos draw Stanford on Day One of Kalbus Invite; not only is it a tough match-up against two-time NCAA champs, in 22 matches UCSB has only beaten the Cardinal once… the first-ever match between the two teams (1999).

13 (T) Indiana (12-0; 0-0 MPSF); The Hoosiers have benefited from matches against lower ranked and/or Eastern opponents (they’ve beaten #21 Marist twice). MPSF reality sets in Friday versus conference foe USC; from here on out Indiana will face seven opponents in the Top Ten—not including Saturday and Sunday opponents in Irvine.

13 (T) UC-Davis (2-12; 0-0 Big West); Aggies catch a scheduling break, traveling East for the Harvard Invitational. Matches are against host Harvard, Brown, La Salle and Siena.

Sydney and Sofia Munatones

Courtesy: UC-San Diego

13 (T) UC-San Diego (6-5; 0-0 Big West); 12-11 loss to LMU despite a furious fourth period stretches Triton losing streak to three. Opening Kalbus play against Cal; there’s an inspiring story about Sofia and Sydney Munatones, who followed brother Skyler to UCSD.

17) Pacific (8-3; 0-0 GCC); The Tigers dropped a one-goal decision to Marist then beat Brown, Cal State Monterey Bay and San Jose State. Off this weekend, they open conference play against Azusa Pacific.

18) Wagner (12-2; 0-0 MAAC); After wins last week in Princeton against Bucknell and San Diego the Seahawks travel to Cambridge, MA for matches against host Harvard, Brown, Mercyhurst and Santa Clara.

19) Harvard (4-3; 0-0 CWPA); Last weekend the Crimson suffered an 11-6 loss to host Princeton but claimed wins over La Salle and Villanova. Big weekend at Blodgett Pool; Harvard opens CWPA play against Brown then has four matches over the weekend, including UC-Davis and Wagner.

20) Brown (7-5; 0-0 CWPA); Can get off to a fast conference start against Harvard; 8-7 win against San Jose State at Santa Clara extend Bear win streak to three and dropped the Spartans out of the top twenty. A rematch Sunday against Wagner, who beat the Bears 13-10 three weeks ago. 


Marist (10-10; 0-0 MAAC); The Red Foxes have already played 20 matches; a win over Pacific was a big boost. Marist is off until March 1, when they travel to Claremont for four matches as part of the Claremont Convergence Tournament.

San Jose State (6-6; 0-0 MPSF); The Spartans were once ranked as high as 16th; now they’re 23rd. The problem is they are part of the MPSF; luckily they only play Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC once a season. 

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