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Water polo hosts SJSU on Senior Day

March 25, 2011

Sun Devil Game Notes & Statistics (pdf)

The No. 8 Arizona State University water polo team (8-9, 0-4 MPSF) will play host to No. 9 San Jose State (14-9, 0-3 MPSF) at Noon on Saturday in the final home game of the 2011 season and the home finale for four seniors. The program will honor seniors Sarah Harris, Candice Phillippe, Lynlee Smith and Nikki Unbehaun before the last home game of their careers.

• 2011 will be the 10th year ASU has competed as a varsity program
• Senior Send Off: Sunday will be the final home game for four seniors
• On the Web: FS Arizona will web stream this week’s game live at noon PT
• Looking Back: 6-5 defeat of #15 UCI in 2003 gives ASU biggest upset... so far
• ASU is #8 in this week’s Collegiate Water Polo Association Top 20 (March 23)
• It’s You Again: Sun Devils and Spartans meeting for third time this year
• Break on Through: ASU & SJSU both looking for first conference wins
• Happy to Help: Smith accumulating assists at a fast pace
• Smith closing out career among the best in program history
• Haas takes over the scoring lead for the Sun Devils
• Sign Here: Sun Devils signed 6 to NLIs in early signing period
• Four seniors are entering their final season with the Sun Devils
• Team adds six newcomers, including four athletes, two staff members

Saturday will mark the final time that four seniors will compete in a home game for the Sun Devils and the program will recognize those four women before the start of the San Jose State game. The senior class includes Sarah Harris, Candice Phillippe, Lynlee Smith and Nikki Unbehaun.

FS Arizona will once again steam Saturday’s game live on the web for free starting at noon. To view the stream, visit and click on the banner at the top of the page (the link will become live on that page on Saturday).

On February 4, the Sun Devil water polo team celebrated the start of their 10th year as a varsity program. Back on February 4, 2002, the Sun Devils played host to Santa Clara in a doubleheader, dropping the first game, 8-6 in overtime, before winning the second contest, 9-2, for the program’s first win at the varsity level. Throughout the season, we will look back at the previous nine seasons of varsity action at ASU as we commemorate this anniversary.

10 YEAR REWIND: MARCH 26, 2003
On Saturday, March 26, 2003, the 20th-ranked Sun Devils played host to the 15th-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, looking to knock of their highest ranked foe at the time and did so with a 6-5 victory. ASU took a 2-0 lead through the first and turned that into a 4-1 lead at the break. But, UCI outscored ASU, 3-1, to give ASU a slight 5-4 lead heading into the final period. In the fourth, UCI tied the game with 1:45 remaining, but Katie Davis scored with 0:12 showing on the clock to give ASU the win.

For the second week in a row, the Sun Devils enter their weekend slate as the No. 8 team in the nation following the release of the March 23 poll. The Sun Devils will face another fellow Top 10 team in No. 9 San Jose State this weekend.

The coaches of the MPSF cast their votes for how they think the conference will shake out this year and Arizona State was voted seventh out of the eight teams, one point below San Jose State and one point ahead of San Diego State. Stanford, USC and Hawai’i enter as the Top 3 projected teams in the league.

On Saturday, the Sun Devils and Spartans will meet for the third time this season and, if the Sun Devils win, it will mean ASU has recorded one-third of its nine victories over San Jose State. On the opening weekend at the Stanford Invitational, the two teams met in the second game of the day with ASU securing a 12-9 victory. Then, two weeks later at the UC Irvine Invitational, ASU took a 9-8 decision to open the tournament.

While both teams have met twice before this season, neither has counted toward the MPSF standings like this weekend’s game will. Both teams enter the weekend with zero wins in the conference and the winner on Saturday will move ahead of the other into seventh place in the standings.

So far this season, the Sun Devils have played four MPSF contests and have fallen in all four. Looking at those teams, all four were ranked in the Top 4 at the time of the game, including No. 4 California, No. 3 UCLA, No. 3 USC and No. 1 Stanford. Currently, those four teams make up the entire Top 4, including No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 California, No. 3 USC and No. 4 UCLA.

Last weekend, the Sun Devils played one game and lost a 14-3 decision to visiting and top-ranked Stanford. Mariam Salloum led the way on offense with a pair of goals while Shannon Haas increased her team-leading goal count to 30.

Over the past several weeks, Lynlee Smith has been helping on the offensive end of the pool, but not always by putting the ball in the back of the net. While she is fourth on the team in goals scored with 21 this year, she leads the way in assists with 30, nearly double that of the next Sun Devil, who has 16 helpers, and ranks as the seventh-most in a single season at ASU. Overall, her assist total has helped her accumulate 51 points with the second-most recorded on the team coming in with 36. In fact, her assist total alone would rank her tied sixth on the team in points.

On the career ledger, Smith currently ranks among the Top 5 in goals, assists and points during her three years in Tempe, including standing second all-time in goals with 137, moving past Katie Hedley (2004-07), who had 134. Smith’s 72 career assists leaves a ways away from breaking the 100-assist mark with half of the season gone, but it does put her fifth all-time and has her 16 back of third place all-time. In career points, those 209 scored (137 goals-72 assists) ranks her third all-time and just the third Sun Devil to score 200 points in a career.

With one goal against Stanford last weekend, Shannon Haas has scored in 12-of-17 games this year, including the last four, in which she netted 12 totals goals. She currently leads the team with 30 goals and, in just two seasons, has already scored 77 goals, which ties her for ninth on the career scoring ledger. With seven more goals this season, she will tie for eighth. From this point out, if she doubles her output, she will become just the sixth Sun Devil to score 100 or more goals in a career.

Another player going for the 100-goal total is senior Nikki Unbehaun, who, like Haas, has tallied 77 in her career, tying her for ninth all-time.

A pair of Sun Devils that earned Honorable Mention All-America honors last season are back once again this year as seniors Sarah Harris and Lynlee Smith will look to lead the offensive charge. Smith was the team’s leading scorer in 2010 with 51 goals (seventh-most in a single season in ASU history) while Harris was an all-around standout, scoring 38 goals (third on the team) while leading the team in steals (30) and by winning 82-of-98 sprints.

Harris also was selected as an Honorable Mention All-MPSF selection and is one of two Sun Devils returning this season after earning that distinction last year. The other returnee is sophomore Shannon Haas, who was named to the Honorable Mention All-MPSF team as well as the MPSF All-Freshman team. Haas was a standout offensively as a freshman, netting 47 goals, which ranks second on the school’s freshman season scoring list and also ranks 10th on the all-time single-season scoring list in program history.

The ACWPCA selected nine individual Sun Devils for All-Academic honors following the 2010 season while also honoring Arizona State as an All-Academic Team. As a whole, the team carried a 3.13 grade-point average, which was the 14th-best in the nation and second in the MPSF. Individually, Becca Clopp, Mariam Salloum and Bonnie Miles were first-team honorees; second team honors went to Amanda Young, Nikki Unbehaun and Shannon Haas; and third team accolades were earned by Sarah Harris, Dana Harvey and Annabelle Carter. Each of those women carried a GPA of 3.20 or better.

Four Sun Devils are entering their final collegiate campaign as the 2011 season will be the senior years for Sarah Harris (Cape Town, South Africa), Candice Phillippe (West Vancouver, B.C., Canada), Lynlee Smith (Auckland, New Zealand) and Nikki Unbehaun (Ann Arbor, Mich).

Six newcomers have joined the Sun Devils this season, including four freshmen and two new members of the coaching/support staff. In the pool, the freshman class including Lucy Baranyi (Budapest, Hungary), Paige Hacker (Phoenix), Ianeta Hutchinson (Auckland, New Zealand) and Madison Moore (Malvern, Pa.). Also new to the team are Laszlo Hruza, the team’s assistant coach, and Christina Hewko, a graduate assistant with the program.

One of the new Sun Devils, Paige Hacker, holds an interesting distinction as well heading into the season: she is the first player from the state to earn a place on the Sun Devil roster. A graduate of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Hacker has been a part of the growth of the sport in the Grand Canyon State from Day One, playing on men’s teams and eventually working her way onto a U.S. Cadet National and Junior National Training Teams, the pipeline to the national team.

With the addition of Lucy Baranyi, a native of Hungary, the 2011 Sun Devil roster now features seven different nations. The nations represented included Australia, Canada, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

Recently, Todd Clapper signed six individuals to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period. Those individuals include: Makenzy Fowler (Santa Barbara, Calif.); E.B. Keeve (Naperville, Ill.); Anna Kertes (Csongrad, Hungary); Rita Keszthelyi (Budapest, Hungary); Liz Kreek (Bellevue, Wash.); and Petra Pardi (Budapest, Hungary).

For the sixth year in a row, Todd Clapper will lead the program as the Sun Devils’ head coach and will continue to work toward Arizona State’s rise toward the top of the standings. In his previous five seasons, Clapper’s teams have built a 79-70 overall record while playing in the toughest conference in the nation, the MPSF. His teams also continue to hold rankings in the national Top 10 throughout the season and have climbed as high as No. 6 (three times in 2010). With a strong group of returning players and the addition of several top-notch newcomers, Clapper’s work is paying off for the program that is entering just its 10th year as a varsity program.

ASU will travel to San Diego State next weekend for four games, including an MPSF game with the host Aztecs. A complete schedule of games will be posted early next week as ASU is scheduled to face at least Brown, SDSU and UC San Diego.