Water polo heads to Stanford Invitational this Weekend
TEMPE, Ariz. - Riding a six-game winning streak, the No. 11 Arizona State University water polo team (6-1, 0-0 MPSF) will travel to Palo Alto, Calif., this weekend for four games in the Stanford Invitational. The Sun Devils will face No. 3 Stanford (1-0, 0-0 MPSF) at 8:30 a.m. Saturday before facing No. 5 California (4-0, 2-0 MPSF) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. ASU will open play on Sunday at 8 a.m. against No. 2 USC (1-0, 0-0 MPSF) before playing in a placement game against an opponent to be determined.
IN THE FIELD
Eight nationally ranked teams make up the field for the 2008 Stanford Invitational this weekend with the teams divided into two brackets. In Bracket A are No. 1 UCLA, No. 4 Hawaii, No. 7 San Jose State and No. 13 Michigan while Bracket B features No. 2 USC, No. 3 Stanford, No. 5 California and No. 10 Arizona State. Each team will face the other three teams in its brackets before playing one cross over game. The winners of each bracket will play for the championship while the second-place teams battle for third, third-place teams for fifth and fourth-place teams for seventh.
With three wins at the Lancer Invitational over the weekend, the Sun Devils improved to 6-1 on the season and set the mark for the best seven-game start in program history, surpassing the 5-2 opening to the 2006 campaign. ASU's lone loss this season was a 14-5 decision to No. 1 UCLA in the first game of the year at the Michigan Invitational.
The three wins not only gave ASU its best start in program history, it also brought the 2008 team into a tie for the longest winning streak in program history of six games in a row set by the 2003 team. That year, the Sun Devils opened the streak with a 7-5 upset of No. 18 UC Irvine on the road and saw the streak end at Cal Baptist in a 7-6 overtime defeat.
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD
The Sun Devils posted wins over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (19-2), Cal Baptist (11-4) and Concordia (20-3) at the Lancer Invitational, giving the team 50 goals on the weekend with two of the game totals marking two of the highest in program history. The 20 goals scored against Concordia ties the record for team goals in a game with the first instance coming in a 20-2 defeat of Marist at the Michigan Invitational in 2004. The 19 scored against CMS ranks as the third-most in a game for the Sun Devils, trailing only the two 20-goal games.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Arizona State saw 13 different players score at least one goal on the weekend with more than half of those players (seven in all) scoring at least one goal in each of the three games played. Those seven include Addison McGrath (nine), Kelly Phelps (seven), Kari Walsh (six), Lauren Hayes (five), Katy Lawlor (five), Traci Aparicio (four) and Amanda Stepp (four).
MAY I HELP YOU?
While 13 different players scored at least one goal on the weekend, 13 players also recorded at least one assist during the three games. Of those 13 helpers, four recorded at least one assist in each of the three games, including Addison McGrath (six), Bonnie Miles (six), Nikki Unbehaun (three) and Kristen Wagner (three). Both goalies that played over the weekend also recorded assists with Caylinn Wallace recording two and Kaitlyn Morris one.
TO THE POINT
Combined, 15 different Sun Devils recorded points on the weekend at the Lancer Invitational, accounting for 87 points on 50 goals and 37 assists. Addison McGrath led the way with 15 total points on nine goals and six assists while Bonnie Miles recorded 10 points with four goals and six assists.
With all the scoring that took place over the weekend, several Sun Devils recorded career days in the pool. Addison McGrath tied her career-high twice on the weekend with four goals scored in a game and her third of the year. Kari Walsh (four against Concordia), Bonnie Miles (three against Concordia) and freshman Lauren Hayes (three against Claremont) each recorded career-best goal totals in a game while Kelly Phelps (three against Cal Baptist) tied her best. Jennifer Campo, Kristen Wagner and Kari Walsh each scored in the Claremont game, marking their first scores of the season, including the first collegiate goal for Wagner.
The Sun Devils moved into a tie for No. 10 in the latest national rankings (February 6), sharing the position with Hartwick and moving into the Top 10 for the first time since moving up to No. 8 in the April 4 rankings last year. The ranking also marks just the 19th time the Sun Devils have been ranked No. 10 or better in program history, all of which have come during the 2006 season or more recent.
IN THE RANKINGS
In the latest national Top 20 rankings, 13 of the other 19 teams (Arizona State is No. 10) will be opponents of the Sun Devils this season, including the entire Top 7 and eight of the Top 10 teams. UCLA (No. 1), USC (No. 2) and Stanford (No. 3) hold the top positions.
IN THE MPSF
Although only Arizona State (seven), San Jose State (six), UCLA (five) and California (four) are the only schools that have played more than three games so far this year, the Sun Devils have a pair of individuals ranked highly in the first release of statistics from the MPSF. Addison McGrath is sixth in scoring with 2.71 goals per game and leads with overall goals scores at 19. Defensively, Caylinn Wallace is fifth with 9.71 saves per game while her 68 saves leads the league. As a team, the Sun Devils are ranked eighth with 11.43 goals per game scored and lead the conference with 80 goals scored on the year while the defense ranks sixth overall with a 5.00 goals against average.
"ADD" IT UP
In seven games this season, junior All-American Addison McGrath has scored 19 goals, including four each against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Concordia. Her 112 goals currently rank third all-time in Arizona State history and are just five from tying Ashley Bower for second all-time. The third player to score 100 or more in a career, McGrath leads the team this season with 31 points on 19 goals and 12 assists. Her 100th goal came at the Michigan Invitational against Indiana.
With her performances over the weekend, including a pair of four-goal games, Addison McGrath continued to build upon her solid career numbers that include her scoring at least one goal in 54-of-63 games played while marking the 17th and 18th times she has scored three or more in a contest.
NEW TO THE LINE-UP
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 Phillipe (three) started for the Sun Devils while Christy Stibbe, Lauren Hayes and goalie Kaitlyn Morris each saw action during the weekend.
Senior goalie Caylinn Wallace turned in a stellar weekend in the cage for the Sun Devils as she posted 20 saves on the weekend to move past 800 for her career (at 809 currently). Wallace, who has saved 70-percent of the shots she has faced this year and is averaging 9.71 saves per game, stopped two shots and allowed no goals in two quarters of play against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps before halting 14 shots (allowed four goals) against Cal Baptist. Wallace capped the weekend with four saves and two goals allowed in the first half of the Concordia game. For her career, Wallace has stopped 56-percent of the shots she has faced and is averaging 9.30 saves per game.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
A trio of Sun Devils climbed higher on the career record ledgers following the Lancer Invitational, including Addison McGrath in three categories. McGrath now has 112 career goals (third), 55 assists (third) and 167 total points (third). Senior Katy Lawlor currently ranks sixth all-time with 65 goals and is 11 points from becoming the seventh Sun Devil to record 100 points in a career (currently has 65 goals, 24 assists and 89 points). Caylinn Wallace recorded six steals near the cage to climb to fourth on the all-time steals chart, needing 14 more to tie for third.
IN THE SERIES... STANFORD
The Cardinal lead the all-time series, 5-0, and is 3-0 in games played in Palo Alto, Calif. The Sun Devils lost a 12-7 home contest the last time out and also dropped a 16-7 decision against the Cardinal in the first weekend of the season at the Stanford Invitational.
IN THE SERIES... CALIFORNIA
The Golden Bears lead the all-time series, 8-0, and defeated the Sun Devils twice in 2007, including a 9-8 decision in the final game of the year at the MPSF Championships in Tempe. During the regular season, the Sun Devils fell, 17-8, at California.
IN THE SERIES... USC
The Trojans hold a lead of 6-0 in the all-time series with the Sun Devils and won two games last year, including a 13-4 decision in the first game of the year at the Stanford Invitational and a 15-8 decision in Los Angeles later in the season.
PRESEASON MPSF SELECTIONS
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 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.
HELLO! MY NAME IS...
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.
NEW TO THE STAFF
The players are not the only new additions to the program this year as a pair of coaches join the Sun Devils in time for the 2008 season. Originally brought in as the program's graduate assistant coach, Ryan Castle was asked to take over the assistant coaching duties this season following the departure of Robbie Bova, who left to pursue other career options. Also joining the staff is Tyler Oakes, who will serve as a volunteer coach.
NEXT TIME OUT
Arizona State will have one game next weekend as it opens the MPSF season by playing host to No. 2 USC in a noon contest on Sunday, February 17, at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe. Three days later, the Sun Devils also will play host to an MPSF opponent as No. 4 Hawaii comes to town on Wednesday, February 20, for a 6:30 p.m. game.