ASU water polo faces No. 2 UCLA a week after facing No. 1 USC

The ASU women’s water polo team is focusing on picking up the pieces after its loss to No. 1 USC on March 1.

The Sun Devils fell to the Trojans 15-6 in their first home game of the season.

Coach Todd Clapper said he is not quite sure what happened in that game. He said the team seemed prepared going in but fell apart during the actual game and didn’t play up to its potential.

After the tough loss, ASU is spending practice time preparing for its next conference game.

The Sun Devils will face No. 2 UCLA in Los Angeles on March 9.

Clapper said the team is working hard in practice to avoid the mistakes it made against USC.

“This week, our intensity has picked up,” he said. “We’re going to be much stronger.”

Clapper said the team’s response has picked up, and it’s aware of what went wrong in the previous game.

Clapper said he believes the Sun Devils match up fairly well with the Bruins, despite the level of play that took place against the USC and that with continued focus in practice, ASU can come out on top.

“We’re just trying to get the team much better,” he said. “We’re preparing to go in for a tough game.”

Clapper said UCLA has a strong, balanced attack with a strong goalie and three strong centers. He complimented the Bruins’ shooters for their abilities.

“There is not a lot of kinks in their armor,” Clapper said.

UCLA won its last game against LMU 14-6, which brought its record to 16-2 on the season. ASU’s current record is 9-5 for the season.

Clapper said the team is putting its loss behind it and focusing on the next challenge: UCLA.

He said the team is continuing to focus on the basics and working together in practice at this point in the season.

Because the season began with tournaments and then went straight into conference play, Clapper said everything the team has been doing in practice is catered to what team it will be playing next.

After the UCLA game Sunday, the Sun Devils host the ASU Invitational from March 14 to 16 in Tempe.

Once those events are over, the team has a couple weeks off before heading back into conference play against Stanford on April 5.

Clapper said the team is going to use that time off from competition to focus on switching up some things in practice.

“It’ll give us an opportunity to introduce new things,” he said. “Hopefully we can focus on coordinated offenses and defenses.”

The game against UCLA begins at 2 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

Reach the reporter at Megan.Kavy@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @meggiekavy