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Water polo set to face conference foes

March 18, 2010

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San Jose, CA
The sixth-ranked Arizona State University women's water polo team (12-6, 0-1 MPSF) will battle a pair of MPSF conference foes March 20-21 in northern California. ASU will begin the weekend Saturday against No. 7 San Jose State at 12:00 p.m. (PST) in San Jose, then travel to Stanford the following day for a match vs. No. 2 Stanford at 12:00 p.m. (PST) in Palo Alto, Calif.

On point
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 surpassed the 30-goal mark March 13 after scoring a goal in a loss to UCLA. 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 16 of 18 matches. Last year's leading scorer has 30 goals on the season and her 95 career scores are fifth in school history. She is the team leader with 39 points and has 129 points in her career, eighth most in school history.

An emerging star
With 19 goals and nine assists on the season, sophomore attacker Kelsey White has more than tripled her numbers from last year. Her 28 points rank fourth on the team and her 18 steals are second best on the squad. She earned her first career hat trick Feb. 6 against No. 4 Cal at the Stanford Invitational and has six multiple goal games on the season. White found the back of the net twice in a loss at UCLA March 13 and finished the five-game CLU Spring Classic March 6-7 with five goals and five steals.

Mighty Mariam
Sophomore attacker Mariam Salloum paces the team with 13 assists and her 32 points are tied for second on the team. She has 19 goals on the season, including three hat tricks, and 16 steals. In two games March 13-14, Salloum notched a goal, three steals and a pair of assists.

A consistent force
After scoring a pair of goals March 14 vs. Long Beach State, junior center Nikki Unbehaun took hold of 9th place on the school's career goals list with 64. She also added an assist and two steals in the win. One of the key returning players from last season's team, Unbehaun has recorded 21 goals and three assists this season while starting all 18 games.

Ahead of the pack
Freshman center Shannon Haas scored a goal against both UCLA and Long Beach State and now has the eighth-most goals in a season by a freshman in school history with 25. 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.

Harrising the oposition
Junior attacker Sarah Harris is tops on the team with 19 steals, and has collected 18 goals and eight assists in her first season with the Sun Devils. A former standout at Pacific, she has also won 41 of 50 sprints this season. Last weekend, she recorded one goal, an assist and three steals in two games.

Group effort
Thirteen of the 15 different Sun Devils who have scored a goal through 18 matches this season have recorded multiple goal games, including nine with three or more scores in a single game. Smith is the team leader in multiple goal games with nine, while Haas and Unbehaun are second with seven. 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 six times, pace the team with three multiple assist games.

In the cage
Sophomore goalie Dana Harvey has recorded 83 saves and allowed just 49 goals in 10 starts this season. Freshman Amanda Young, who has collected 84 saves and given up 62 goals in eight starts, started both games over the weekend, but shared time with Harvey in the cage. Young made nine saves in two games, while Harvey finished with six.

Four seasons of history
Senior attacker Bonnie Miles is third on ASU's career assists list with 80 and sixth on the career points list with 143. Her two goals against Long Beach State give her 63 on her career, tied for 10th all-time. After scoring 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 (119) and points (163). She is third in career goals scored and fourth in career points, and has 44 assists in her career, just one behind sixth place.

Halfway to a full circle
Sunday's victory over Long Beach State gave head coach Todd Clapper his 180th career victory. Clapper, who is in his 11th year as a head coach and fifth with the Sun Devils, now has 75 wins with ASU.

Play the best to be the best
The Sun Devils have faced a ranked opponent in 16 of their 18 matches this season, including six against top-five teams and 10 versus those 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 10-6 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 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. 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.

California love
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...San Jose State
The last time these two teams met, the Sun Devils defeated San Jose State by eight goals in the seventh place game of the Stanford Invitational Feb. 7. Arizona State is 5-9 all-time against the Spartans, including 4-2 all-time in MPSF regular season games.

In the series...Stanford
Arizona State is 0-10 in its all-time series against Stanford. The Cardinal are one of three teams that ASU has never beaten in three or more meetings, joining UCLA (0-12) and Loyola Marymount (0-5). The Sun Devils lost to Stanford 15-8 earlier this season at the UC Irvine Invitational Feb. 27.

New kids on the block
The Sun Devils welcome seven freshman to the team this season: defender Becca Clopp, Haas, center Kramer Greenberg, attackers Morgan Leech and Searra Silverberg, center Paige Walters and Young. In addition, Carter and Harris are in their first season with ASU.

So internaitonal
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, sophomore center Bella 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
The Sun Devils will play in front of a friendly crowd for the first time this season as they host the annual ASU Invitational March 26-28. They will face Cal Baptist Friday night at 6:30 p.m. (PST) before playing a pair of games Saturday against No. 3 Hawai'i and Concordia. ASU will finish the weekend with a match vs. Santa Clara at 9 a.m. (PST) Sunday.