Water polo team faces tough opponent

Column by Nick Prete, ASU News

This Saturday, the water polo team looks to take on one of their toughest opponents of the season. The No. 4 Sun Devils will travel to Palo Alto, California to take on No. 2 Stanford.

“I think that while they’re ranked number two, they’re probably right now they’re the best team [in the nation],” coach Todd Clapper said.

After a loss to No. 3 USC last weekend at home the Devils have to shake off the loss and take on the Cardinals in their house.

“You know in the past years, [the mental aspect] has really been more of an issue because, going up against those teams we’ve had this [idea], ‘Well they’re this team or that team’…This year’s team is different. The older players returning as well as the new players have the attitude that we can beat anybody if we play well.”

While Stanford is a challenging team to go up against after a loss, coach Clapper believes ASU can still be successful in the upset.

“Stanford is quicker then USC, I think that they’re kind of the speed of UCLA but they have a few more weapons to worry about…They’re not as physical as a Cal or a USC, so size match up I think we match up pretty well with them... On offense, we just need to push the fast break, I mean, they’re quick, but we’re just as fast…We need to look for high percentage opportunities, whether that’s early in on the clock on the counter attack or if we take our time and kind of hold on to the possession of the ball a little bit longer. I think if we can accomplish those things we’ll be putting ourselves in a good position to be successful on Saturday.”

At the beginning of the year, the water polo team was on a 13-0 run and looked like no one could stop them. Unfortunately, their run to an end when they lost to Cal and San Diego State consecutively. The weekend after though, they went on to beat both of those teams. Currently, ASU is 2-2 in conference match ups and 20-4 overall. The team only has four regular season games to go, so every one counts in their drive for the MPSF conference championship.

“If we just go in and focus on taking care of what we need to do in this moment and the next moment and really just focus on that rather than looking at the game in general, we can beat anybody.”

The game is at 1 p.m., PT.

Go Devils!