(Photo: Jonathan Diego/WCSN)
The No. 4 Sun Devil women’s water polo team is at the Spieker Aquatic Center today to take on No. 2 UCLA. ASU has won 10 of their last 11 games this season and they look to challenge one of the best teams in the county. In fact ASU has only beaten UCLA once as the series record is at 1-17
Last week Arizona State traveled to the Bay Area to face San Jose State and CSU Monterrey Bay. Over the course of those two game they combined to score 28 goals. However, UCLA is a very talented team that cause ASU some trouble. The bruins have only lost three times this year as hold a 20-3 record.
Players to watch:
ASU: Maud Koopman- The freshman from the Netherlands has been outstanding in her first year for Arizona State. Last time out she scored a hat-trick which increased her season goal total to 29. She can shoot from anywhere in the pool, which will make her a threat all game long.
UCLA: Mackenzie Barr- the junior utility will be moving around all over the pool today for the Bruins. With 33 goals on the season, she will be able to find holes in ASU’s zone defense, which will make her difficult to defend.
Arizona State will stick to their zone defensive strategy. That means they will drop off defenders to help guard center. This will leave outside attackers open for shots, but that is what ASU wants because goalie Mia Rycraw has been one of the best in the country with a save percentage of 66.
The Bruins will take the ASU with a press defense. Arizona State struggles when they play against a press defense, because they can’t get any separation. ASU had no answer for that defense when they played USC, so expect UCLA to do the same.
History says that Arizona State will have a hard time winning this game. However, with a team led by talented seniors and a freshman superstar, this ASU team is one of the best Coach Todd Clapper has ever shad. Also, ASU is still fighting to secure an at-large bid to NCAA Playoffs. A win today will greatly improve their chances of doing so.