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ASU water polo travels to Gauchos for MPSF contest

April 03, 2008

Following a four-game sweep at its own tournament, the No. 7 Arizona State University water polo team will return to the road this weekend for a single game as the Sun Devils (17-9, 4-4 MPSF) will travel to face No. 17 UC Santa Barbara (4-14, 0-8 MPSF) in a noon MPSF game in Santa Barbara on Saturday. The game will feature two teams on opposite streaks with the Sun Devils winning their last six and the Gauchos dropping their last 14 in a row.

The Sun Devils posted a 4-0 record last weekend at the ASU Invitational, outscoring their opponents 49-20. The Sun Devils opened with a 17-9 MPSF victory over Pacific before dispatching of CS San Bernardino, 11-3. On the second day of action, ASU downed Cal Baptist, 14-4, before defeating No. 19 UC San Diego, 8-4.

With four more wins over the weekend, the Sun Devils built their winning streak to six in a row, tying for the longest streak in program history that was accomplished twice before, including earlier this year. With a win at No. 17 UC Santa Barbara this weekend, the Sun Devils would reset the record to seven in a row.

Back in 2003, the Sun Devils posted a 20-18 overall record, setting the program record for wins in a season. Currently, the 2008 team holds a 17-9 record with four regular season games to be played, as well as games at the MPSF Championships in San Diego April 24-27. The 17 wins posted this year are the second-most in program history, surpassing the previous total of 15 wins in 2006, head coach Todd Clapper's first year with the program.

Speaking of wins for Todd Clapper, the team's 13-4 defeat of Cal Baptist on March 30 was the 150th over his coaching career. Currently holding a career record of 151-109 in his eighth season in the college ranks, Clapper came to Tempe with a 105-73 record in five years at Brown before recording a 46-36 record with the Sun Devils.

While Clapper picked up his milestone victory last weekend, as win by the Sun Devils this weekend would earn a milestone for the program as it would record its 100th varsity victory. ASU currently holds a 99-111 record in its seventh-year of play as a varsity sport.

The Sun Devils are 4-4 in the MPSF heading into the weekend and a victory over the Gauchos would give the team its third season in a row with five league victories. Including the game with UC Santa Barbara this weekend, the Sun Devils have four tries to win two games, which would give them six MPSF wins and establish a single-season record. The 2007 and 2006 teams both went 5-7 in league action after the 2005 team was 3-9 and 2004 was 2-9.

Senior goalie Caylinn Wallace recorded 43 saves on the weekend, including 17 against CS San Bernardino, but it was the last of eight saves she made against Cal Baptist that was special as that stop, which came in the fourth quarter, was the 1,000th of her career. Wallace ended the weekend with nine saves against No. 19 UC San Diego to bring her season total to 268, a school record (surpassing her total of 263 set last year).

For the second time in three weeks and the fourth time in her career, Caylinn Wallace was named the MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week (March 31). Wallace, who was honored with the selection two weeks prior after recording 15 saves to lead ASU to an 8-7 upset of No. 4 California, is averaging 10.31 saves per game this year and is among the Top 5 nationally in overall saves with 268.

Addison McGrath scored four goals at No. 8 San Jose State on March 1, all of which came in the second quarter. It was her second goal in that game, however, that is historic as it gave her 135 for her career and the school's scoring record, surpassing the 134 scored by Katie HedleyRowie Webster, who held the single-season goal record of 63 that she scored in 2006. (2004-07). This past weekend, McGrath took over another scoring record as she netted two goals against No. 19 UC San Diego (March 30) for season scores No. 63 and No. 64. Her second goal broke a tie with her and

With 97 points this season, Addison McGrath is the single-season record holder, surpassing her previous record total of 88 from last year. With three more points earned, not only will she record 100 points in a season, she also will tie Ashley Bower (2004-07) for the career record. Bower graduated with 236 career points on 116 goals and 115 assists. Currently, McGrath has totaled 233 points on 157 goals and 76 assists. McGrath also needs just three more steals to give her 100 for her career, becoming just the sixth player to do so.

A pair of firsts occurred over the weekend at the ASU Invitational as a pair of rookies added their names to the stat sheet. Offensively, Angela Salgado collected a rebound, shot and scored in the fourth quarter of ASU's 11-3 defeat of CS San Bernardino to record the first goal of her collegiate career. Defensively, after Caylinn Wallace recorded her 1,000th career save in Sunday's 13-4 defeat of Cal Baptist, rookie Elizabeth McCoy replaced Wallace and recorded a pair of saves while allowing no goals to be scored.

The Sun Devils are 4-4 in the MPSF and are in seventh place overall while this week's opponent, UC Santa Barbara, is 0-8 and in 12th place. UCLA continues to lead with an 8-0 record and is followed by USC (7-1) and Stanford (6-1) in the Top 3.

Addison McGrath continues to lead the MPSF in scoring with 64 on the year while her 2.46 goals per game average is ranked second in the league. Goalie Caylinn Wallace also ranks highly in the league statistics as she leads the MPSF with 268 saves while her 10.31 saves per game average ranks first. As a team, the Sun Devils rank seventh in goals scored with 9.58 per game while the defense is seventh, allowing 7.00 per game.

Nationally, several Sun Devils rank highly, including Addison McGrath, who has scored the seventh-most goals in the nation at 64 while Kelly Phelps ranks 39th with her 38 goals scored. Defensively, Caylinn Wallace's 268 saves are the third-most. As a team, the Sun Devils rank sixth defensively (7.00 goals per game allowed) while standing 20th offensively (9.58 goals scored per game).

Through 26 games this year, the Sun Devils have scored 249 goals, the second-most behind last year's 268 scored in 28 games. The 2008 team is currently slightly ahead of last year's record pace of 9.57 goals per game as this year's squad is averaging 9.58 goals per game.

The Sun Devils are 6-5 all-time in their series with the Gauchos and have won two in a row. The last time the two teams met was in Tempe last year on three occasions. The first game was a 7-6 loss in an MPSF game one day before a 12-6 ASU win in the ASU Invitational. Then, the two teams met in the MPSF Championships in Tempe with ASU taking a 10-9 victory. ASU also played UCSB earlier in the season last year, winning 13-11 in overtime at the UC Irvine Invitational. The last time the teams played in Santa Barbara, the host Gauchos won a 6-5 decision. ASU is 1-1 all-time at UCSB with both games counting in the MPSF standings.

The Sun Devils have defeated three teams ranked higher than them this season, including an 8-5 defeat of then-No. 2 USC at the Stanford Invitational, a 7-5 defeat of No. 8 San Jose State in San Jose, Calif., and an 8-7 victory over No. 4 California last time out in Tempe. The Sun Devils were ranked No. 10 in the first two upset victories this year and moved up to No. 8 before downing the Golden Bears.

The Sun Devils, ranked 10th at the time, went 2-2 at the Stanford Invitational and finished seventh overall. 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 Top 3 programs, surpassed the Sun Devils' 8-5 defeat of then-No. 4 Hawai'i at the 2006 Stanford Invite.

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.

With their win over No. 4 California (8-7), the Sun Devils recorded just their fifth all-time win against a team ranked No. 5 or higher and won for the second time this year. Entering the season, Arizona State had not defeated a No. 2 team (W, 8-5, USC) and was 1-7 all-time against the No. 4 team before downing Cal.

While the team took the weekend off last week, Addison McGrath was still competing, picking up a javelin for the ASU Track & Field team. McGrath recorded a toss of 44.34m (145-06) to place fifth in her first competition in the event and move into the No. 4 spot on ASU's all-time Top 10 list. Her mark also qualified her for the NCAA West Region Championships, the qualifier for the NCAA Track & Field Championships.

In the game with No. 9 UC Irvine, freshman Lauren Hayes scored twice, bringing her season total to 15, which is the 10th-most in a rookie season.

Following their upset of No. 4 California, the Sun Devils climbed from No. 8 to No. 7 and remain at No. 7 for the third week in a row.

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 50 career goals and needs six more to tie for ninth. On the freshman lists, Candice Phillippe (nine) and Kristen Wagner (eight) are two and three assists away, respectively, from tying for 10th on the rookie charts.

Opening the year 8-3, 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.

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.

ASU will play a pair of games next weekend, first playing host to No. 15 CS Northridge at noon Saturday, April 12, in Tempe before traveling to face No. 1 UCLA at noon on Sunday, April 13, in Los Angeles. Both games are MPSF contests.