Water Polo begins MPSF Conference
At Los Angeles
The sixth-ranked Arizona State University women's water polo team (11-5, 0-0 MPSF) will open MPSF conference play March 13 against No. 4 UCLA at 1:00 p.m. (PST) in Los Angeles. ASU will then face Long Beach State the following day, March 14, at 12:00 p.m. (PST) in Long Beach, Calif.
After losing by two goals to Hawai'i in the fifth-place game of the UC Irvine Invitational Feb. 28, the Sun Devils have rattled off five consecutive victories, including three double-digit wins. They defeated No. 19 CS East Bay 20-2 and No. 7 Whittier 16-1 on March 6, and beat No. 1 Pomona Pitzer by 11 on March 7.
Sophomore attacker Annabelle Carter is second on the team with 32 points after collecting 11 assists, which is tied for the team lead, and scoring 21 goals through 16 games. Her six-goal performance Jan. 30 against UC Irvine still ranks as the most goals by a Sun Devil in single-game this season. Carter scored one goal and dropped three assists in a 16-1 win over Whittier March 6, and finished the CLU Spring Classic with three goals and six assists in five games.
Picking up where she left off
Junior attacker Lynlee Smith scored at least one goal in each of the Sun Devils' five matches March 6-7 at the CLU Spring Classic and finished the weekend with 11 goals and three assists. The Auckland, New Zealand, native has three hat tricks this season, is tops on the team with nine multiple goal games and has notched a goal in 15 of 16 matches. Last year's leading scorer already has 29 goals on the season and her 94 career scores are fifth in school history. She is the team leader with 38 points and has 128 points in her career, eighth most in school history.
An emerging star
With 17 goals and nine assists on the season, sophomore attacker Kelsey White has more than tripled her numbers from last year. Her 26 points rank fourth on the team and her 16 steals are tied for best on the squad. She earned her first career hat trick Feb. 6 against No. 4 Cal at the Stanford Invitational and has five multiple goal games on the season. White finished the five-game CLU Spring Classic with five goals and five steals.
Sophomore attacker Mariam Salloum is tied for the team lead with 11 assists and her 29 points are good enough for third on the team. She has 18 goals on the season, including three hat tricks, and 13 steals. At the CLU Spring Classic March 6-7, Salloum notched three goals, three steals and a pair of assists.
A consistent force
After scoring 13 goals in five games at the CLU Spring Classic March 6-7, junior center Nikki Unbehaun took hold of tenth-place on the school's career goals list with 62. She saved her best performances for the toughest games in Thousand Oaks, Calif., collecting four goals against both No. 7 Whittier and No. 1 Pomona Pitzer. One of the key returning players from last season's team, Unbehaun has recorded 19 goals and two assists this season while starting all 16 games.
Ahead of the Pac
Freshman center Shannon Haas is just one goal away from ranking in the top-10 in school history in season goals by a freshman after netting 23 goals in 16 games. The team leader among freshman in goals and points, Haas found the back of the net 13 times during the CLU Spring Classic March 6-7, and has seven multiple goal games on the season. The Murrieta, Calif., native notched a career-high five goals March 6 in a 20-2 win over No. 19 CS East Bay.
A first for everything
Sophomore center Bella Morrison recorded her first goal of the year March 6 vs. No. 19 CS East Bay, while freshman attacker Morgan Leech collected her first career goal and assist in the same game. Morrison ended the game with two scores, and Leech finished the weekend with three goals and a pair of assists in five games.
Thirteen of the 15 different Sun Devils who have scored a goal through 16 matches this season have recorded multiple goal games, including eight with three or more scores in a single game. Smith is the team leader in multiple goal games with nine, while Haas is second with seven followed by Unbehaun with six. ASU has also not been shy about distributing the ball, as 15 players have an assist this year, including nine with two or more in a game. Carter, who has scored more than two goals in a game four times this season, and White, who has accomplished the feat five times, pace the team with three multiple assist games.
In the cage
Sophomore goalie Dana Harvey has recorded 77 saves and allowed just 44 goals in 10 starts this season. Freshman Amanda Young, who has collected 75 saves and given up 49 goals in six starts, began the weekend in the cage against No. 10 CS Northridge, while Harvey took over goaltending duties in the second match vs. No. 19 CS East Bay. The pair split time in the cage over the next three games at the CLU Spring Classic, and Young ended with 31 saves and Harvey finished with 15.
Four seasons of history
Senior attacker Bonnie Miles is third on ASU's career assists list with 78 and sixth on the career points list with 139. With four goals in five games March 6-7 at the CLU Spring Classic, senior center Kelly Phelps moved into the top four in Sun Devil history in both goals scored (118) and points (162). She is third in career goals scored and fourth in career points, and has 44 assists in her career, just one behind sixth place.
Play the best to be the best
The Sun Devils have faced a ranked opponent in 15 of their 16 matches this season, including five in the top-five and 10 in the top-10, according to the Division I National Collegiate Poll rankings. ASU has also played a pair of teams in the top-10 of the Division III National Collegiate Poll rankings, including top-ranked Pomona Pitzer. The Sun Devils hold the advantage over these top teams, having gone 10-5 against them so far this season. During the course of the season, they are set to play upwards of 22 games against teams ranked in the top-20 of either Division I or III.
A busy summer
It was a busy July for the Sun Devils overseas as four student-athletes and head coach Todd Clapper competed in the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome, while junior attacker Candice Phillippe played in the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia. Smith, Harvey and Clapper represented New Zealand. Smith scored seven goals and had three assists in six games and Clapper led the squad to a third place finish in their group and 12th overall. Junior attacker Sarah Harris led South Africa in goals scored with eight, and Salloum had two goals and an assist for Germany in six games.
A look back at 2009
For the first time in program history, the Sun Devils were ranked in the top-10 all last season. They moved as high as fifth in the March 4 poll and ended the season ranked 10th. The team started the season 6-0 and set a school record in average goals-per-game with 10 and a half. They had multiple All-Americans for the second season in a row as departed senior Addison McGrath was a First-Team selection and Smith collected Honorable Mention honors.
Annabelle and Sarah's excellent adventure
Carter, a native of Sydney, Australia, and Harris, who hails from Cape Town, South Africa, joined the team in mid-January and will look to contribute immediately. Carter attended the Australia College of Physical Education in Sydney for two years and was selected to compete for the Australian U17 team in 2006 and the U20 team in 2008. Harris attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., for one year and then attended school back home in South Africa before coming to Tempe. Her team-high 102 points were tops in the MPSF, as was her 3.40 goals per game average. She was named an All-MPSF Honorable Mention, the lone freshman selected to any All-American team.
The Sun Devils may not play a home match until the end of March, but don't tell that to the players. Eleven girls are natives of California and all of ASU's road matches are in the state of California. ASU will play scrimmages in Irvine, Calif., and Los Angeles, invitationals at Stanford, UC Irvine and Cal Lutheran, and MPSF conference games at UCLA, Long Beach State, San Jose State and Stanford.
In the series...UCLA
The Sun Devils lost to UCLA by one, 6-7, earlier this season at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., and are now 0-11 all-time against UCLA. The Bruins are one of three teams that ASU has never beaten in three or more meetings, joining Stanford (0-10) and Loyola Marymount (0-5).
In the series...Long Beach State
Long Beach State was still a member of the MPSF last time these two teams met March 9, 2008, in Long Beach, Calif. The Sun Devils came out victorious 9-6 and have won the previous four meetings, but still trail the all-time series, 7-4.
New kids on the block
The Sun Devils welcome seven freshman to the team this season: defender Becca Clopp, Haas, center Kramer Greenberg, Leech, attacker Searra Silverberg, center Paige Walters and Young. In addition, Carter and Harris are in their first season with ASU.
From South Africa to Germany, there are Sun Devils all over the world. Eight players from five different countries are on the ASU roster, meaning close to half of the team hails from outside of the United States. Harvey, Morrison and Smith are from New Zealand, White and Harris grew up in South Africa, Phillippe is a native of Canada, and Salloum is from Germany.
Next time out
In their final road trip of the regular season, the Sun Devils head to northern California next week to battle a pair of MPSF conference foes. ASU will begin the weekend March 20 against No. 7 San Jose State at 12:00 p.m. (PST) in San Jose, then travel to Stanford for a match vs. No. 2 Stanford at 12:00 p.m. (PST) in Palo Alto, Calif.