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ASU water polo faces #8 SJSU, #2 Stanford

February 28, 2008

The No. 10 Arizona State University water polo team (10-7, 0-2 MPSF) will return to the road this weekend for a pair of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) games as the Sun Devils are set to face No. 8 San Jose State (8-6, 1-1 MPSF) at noon Saturday in San Jose, Calif., before closing the trip at 1 p.m. Sunday at No. 2 Stanford (9-2, 1-1 MPSF). The games, which will count toward league standings, are the first MPSF games for the year on the road for the Sun Devils after dropping home contests to No. 3 USC and No. 4 Hawai'i last week.

Addison McGrath entered the game with No. 4 Hawai'i last week having scored a career-high four goals in a game on 11 occasions, including three times during the 2008 season, one shy of tying the program's single-game record of five (held by five different Sun Devils). The junior came out firing and tied the record in the first half alone, scoring three in the first and two in the second. After not scoring in the third, McGrath scored twice more in the fourth to give her seven on the game, the most in a single-game in ASU history.

McGrath not only scored seven goals against the Rainbow Wahine, she also added one assist to tie a single-game record for points with eight. McGrath, who entered the season tied for points in a game (seven) with five other players, has scored eight points in a game twice this season, adding a four-goal, four-assist showing against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at the Lancer Invitational on February 2.

With 14 goals scored in her last five games, Addison McGrath has 40 goals on the year, the sixth-most in a single-season, to bring her career total to 133. With one goal this weekend at San Jose State and Stanford, McGrath will tie Katie Hedley (2004-07) for the most goals in program history at 134 and will surpass the record total with two or more goals on the road.

Several Sun Devils reached milestones over the weekend at the UC Irvine Invitational and here is a look at some of their accomplishments:
Addison McGrath scored one goal and one assist against No. 6 San Diego State to record the 200th point of her career, moving her into second all-time.
• McGrath also recorded a career-high four assists in a win over No. 12 Long Beach State.
• Senior Katy Lawlor's goal scored against No. 9 Loyola Marymount was the 100th point in her Sun Devil career. She is the seventh Sun Devil to record 100 points in program history.
Kelly Phelps tallied four goals and five total points against No. 17 CS Northridge to set career-highs in both categories.
• Freshmen Nikki Unbehaun recorded the first hat trick of her career with a three-goal performance against No. 17 CS Northridge.

Following a 2-2 weekend at the UC Irvine Invitational, the Sun Devils slipped two spots to No. 10 in the national rankings, released Wednesday. This weekend's opponents are both ranked in the Top 10, including No. 2 Stanford and No. 8 San Jose State.

In the latest national Top 20 rankings, 15 of the other 19 teams (Arizona State is No. 10) already have or will be opponents of the Sun Devils this season, including the entire Top 5 and nine of the Top 10 teams. UCLA (No. 1), Stanford (No. 2) and California (No. 3) hold the top positions this week with No. 4 USC and No. 5 Hawai'i rounding out the Top 5.

The Sun Devils, ranked 10th at the time, went 2-2 at the Stanford Invitational and finished seventh overall last weekend. The highlight came in the first of two games on Sunday as Arizona State handed No. 2 USC an 8-5 defeat, marking the highest ranked foe ASU has defeated in program history. The win, ASU's first over a Top 3 team in 23 tries against the nation's Top 3 programs, surpassed the Sun Devils' 8-5 defeat of then-No. 4 Hawai'i at the 2006 Stanford Invitational.

Arizona State's win over USC was not only historic for the Sun Devils as their highest ranked opponent they have defeated, but it also marked the first time since the NCAA began sponsoring a national tournament (2001) that a team outside of the Top 5 has knocked off a team in the Top 3 while also becoming just the fourth program to defeat USC in that span. The only other time a team other than UCLA or Stanford has defeated USC since 2001 was when No. 4 Hawai'i scored a 10-9 defeat of the top-ranked Trojans at the MPSF Championships in Irvine (April 29, 2006). Loyola Marymount, ranked fifth and seeded third at the NCAA Championships, was the other team outside of the Top 3 to defeat a Top 3 team when it upset No. 2 Stanford in the national semifinals at the 2004 tournament in Palo Alto, Calif.

Standing 10-7 this season, the Sun Devils have tied the program record for best start as both the 2006 and 2008 squads opened the year 8-3. Both teams also posted six-game winning streaks during that span and placed seventh at the Stanford Invitational.

Addison McGrath moved into the fifth position on the MPSF scoring list this week with her 2.35 goals per game average. Overall, McGrath has scored 40 goals in 17 games, which stands as a tie for the most goals this season in the MPSF with Pacific's Kellie Fletcher. Defensively, Caylinn Wallace is ranked second in the league with 9.34 saves per game while her 161 total saves ranks as the most in the MPSF. As a team, the Sun Devils are second with 162 goals scored, rank seventh with 9.53 goals scored per game and are seventh in allowing 7.24 goals per game.

In 17 games this season, junior All-American Addison McGrath has scored 40 goals, including a single-game record seven against No. 4 Hawai'i. Her 133 goals currently rank second all-time in Arizona State history, one behind record-holder Katie Hedley's 134 (2004-07). The third player to score 100 or more in a career, McGrath leads the team this season with 64 points on 40 goals and 24 assists. Her 100th goal came at the Michigan Invitational against Indiana.

With her performances over the weekend, Addison McGrath continued to build upon her solid career numbers that include her scoring at least one goal in 61-of-72 games played while marking the 21st time she has scored three or more in a contest with her four-goal performance against No. 17 CS Northridge.

Addison McGrath's 21 games that she has scored three or more goals ranks as the most in program history with Katie Hedley standing second with 14 in her four-year career. When you look at four-or-more goal scoring performances in a game, McGrath leads the program with 13 games while Rowie Webster is second with five. Overall, counting games in which a player scores two or more goals, McGrath is tied for second all-time with 35 games with Ashley Bower while Hedley leads the way with 42 games. Senior Katy Lawlor also is in the Top 10 as her 15 games with two or more goals ranks tied for the eighth most all-time.

Speaking of scoring in bunches, three Sun Devils scored at least two goals in a game twice over the weekend, including freshmen Nikki Unbehaun and junior Addison McGrath, who tied for the team lead with seven goals in the four-game tournament. McGrath had two against No. 9 Loyola Marymount, four against No. 17 CS Northridge and one against No. 6 San Diego State while Unbehaun netted one against LMU, her first hat trick against CSUN and two against No. 12 Long Beach State. Senior Katy Lawlor also had two games with multiple goals, including three against LBSU and two against SDSU after scoring once against LMU.

Of the nine freshmen on the 2008 roster, five saw their first minutes of playing time at the Michigan Invitational. Nikki Unbehaun (four games) and Candice Phillippe (three) started for the Sun Devils while Christy Stibbe, Lauren Hayes and goalie Kaitlyn Morris each saw action during the weekend. At the Stanford Invitational, Kristen Wagner also saw her first playing time of the year.

Several Sun Devils are closing in on joining the Top 10 record list, half of which are looking to add their names to the career ledger. Katy Lawlor has 31 career assists and needs one more to tie for 10th all-time while Amanda Stepp (79) is four points away from tying for 10th. Kelly Phelps has scored 48 career goals and needs eight more to tie for ninth. On the freshman lists, Lauren Hayes has 13 goals and needs one more to tie for 10th while Candice Phillippe (nine) and Kristen Wagner (eight) are two and three assists away, respectively, from tying for 10th on the rookie chart.

New to the record lists this week are three season marks and three career marks. On the season ledger, Addison McGrath added her name to the goals list (sixth with 40), points (seventh with 64) and assists (tied for ninth with 24) while also moving up to No. 8 with 84 career steals. Katy Lawlor moved up to No. 6 in career points with 107, making her just the seventh Sun Devil to record 100 points in a career, while Caylinn Wallace recorded the 900th save of her career.

With her fourth of six saves against No. 6 San Diego State at the UC Irvine Invitational, goalie Caylinn Wallace recorded the 900th save in her Sun Devil career. Wallace ended the weekend (including the Hawai'i game and four at the UCI event) with 48 saves in all.

The Sun Devils are 3-5 all-time against the Spartans, but won the last meeting in an 11-10 overtime decision in Tempe on March 4. Earlier in the season, the Sun Devils had fallen, 11-10, at the Stanford Invitational and 9-6 at the UC Irvine Invitational. Arizona State is 1-1 in games played in San Jose, winning the last meeting, 5-3, during the 2006 season.

The Sun Devils are still in search of their first victory in the series with the Cardinal as Stanford holds a 6-0 advantage. Arizona State lost a 14-4 decision to SU at the Stanford Invitational earlier this year and is 0-3 in games played in Palo Alto.

The 2008 Sun Devil roster features 18 players, including nine that return from the 2007 squad. The returning players feature three seniors in Traci Aparicio, Katy Lawlor and Caylinn Wallace, one junior in Addison McGrath and five sophomores in Jennifer Campo, Bonnie Miles, Kelly Phelps, Amanda Stepp and Kari Walsh.

The second half of the squad is comprised of nine freshmen; Lauren Hayes, Elizabeth McCoy, Kaitlin McCoy, Kaitlyn Morris, Candice Phillipe, Angela Salgado, Christy Stibbe, Nikki Unbehaun and Kristen Wagner.

The MPSF conducted a preseason poll of the 13 head coaches in the league last week with the Sun Devils receiving 56 points and the eighth-position in the poll, just three points behind seventh-ranked San Jose State. Defending champion UCLA was selected first and was followed in the Top 5 by USC, California and Stanford (tied for third) and Hawaii. The Sun Devils finished 10th in the MPSF Championships last year, which were held in Tempe.

The Sun Devils will return to the road for two more MPSF games next weekend, facing UC Irvine at noon on March 8 before closing out the weekend against Long Beach State at noon on March 9.