The ASU water polo team has two weeks off before it continues conference play against Stanford University on April 5 in Palo Alto, Calif.
The team is coming off a dominant weekend at the ASU Invitational.
Although the tournament was not as challenging for the Sun Devils (13-6, 1-2 MPSF) as regular conference play, the team did pick up its first conference win against CSU Bakersfield.
Coach Todd Clapper said the time off is a positive thing for the team.
“We have a good bit of time off,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for us to build.”
In the first half of the season, Clapper said the team focused on its individual competition, preparing specifically for each team it faced.
Because of the individualized focus, Clapper said the team’s endurance tended to sleep. With two weeks off, he said the team would be able to focus on upping its endurance to better prepare for the second half of the season.
Clapper said the team would be able to work on new things before the end of the season approaches.
“We want to improve our six-on-fives and add a few more offense schemes,” he said.
Although the team continues to focus on the same general things, Clapper said they are important for the team to thrive.
Bench players have become an important part of the team this season. Sophomore center Abbey Kerth scored numerous goals at the ASU Invitational.
Senior goalie Ianeta Hutchinson saw action in a two games against Occidental College and Whittier College.
Hutchinson played the first half of the game against Occidental and allowed no goals with six saves.
She also played three quarters of the game against Whittier. She saved seven shots and only allowed one goal.
After the game against Stanford on April 5, the Sun Devils have two more conference games before the end of the season.
ASU will face San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif., on April 6 and the University of California on April 12 at home.
The Sun Devils lost a close game to Stanford at the UCI Invitational earlier in the season, falling 11-10.
Although they fell to Stanford at that tournament, ASU defeated San Jose State 15-10.
ASU has yet to play the University of California, Berkley, this season but defeated the Golden Bears last season 10-9.
After the Sun Devils play their final three conference games in early April, the team will have a bit of time off before it heads to the MPSF Championships.
The tournament takes place April 25, 26 and 27 in Los Angeles.
ASU fell to UCLA 10-7 in the third place game at the 2013 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships.
The Sun Devils hope to improve their ranking this year and receive a bid for the NCAA Championships, which take place May 9 through May 11.
ASU water polo has never made it to the NCAAs in the history of the program and hope to do so this year for the first time.
Reach the reporter at Megan.Kavy@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @meggiekavy