With just two practices remaining until the Southwest Division Championships April 12 and April 13 in Tucson, ASU women’s club water polo knows that every second in practice is crucial.
Coach AJ Grucky is well aware of the situation at hand and stressed how important this week’s practices are for the team.
“It’s our last week.” Grucky said. “We need to put it all together.”
The team spent the first hour of practice with a warmup swim, taking shots on the goal and passing the ball under pressure by defenders.
The second hour of practice was broken into two segments. The first half involved the Sun Devils playing in a broken scrimmage.
During the broken scrimmage, the Sun Devils set up their half-court offense before the whistle was blown. The offense was given five different possessions to try and score a goal.
Grucky allowed the team to run any plays in its arsenal, as long as they had practiced it in the past. Both offenses displayed discipline with their spacing and utilized communication in order to score.
Originally, each offense worked to try and get the ball into whole set. However, once the defense realized this, it forced the players on offense to try to run different plays. Some of the plays included screens, and switching players in and out of two meters.
Unlike weeks past, Grucky did not stop the scrimmage frequently to point out errors or mistakes. He allowed both sides of the ball to adapt to situations and expected the team to figure out its own way to score.
Sophomore Nicole Foster expressed how different this week of practice felt from weeks past.
“Our practice has been really well, we’re really intense and we’re all feeling the pressure of this weekend.” Foster said. “We’re all trying to play our best.”
The last 30 minutes of practice were spent working on power plays. During power plays, the defense loses a defender for 20 seconds because of a penalty.
As a result, the offense needs to capitalize on scoring within that time frame. Grucky would blow his whistle to start the play and count down the 20 seconds until the exclusion was over.
The players on offense were able to sufficiently score the ball in around 15 seconds.
Foster believes that power plays are going to be a big part of their game this weekend.
“Power plays are always an opportunity to get a goal, and making silly mistakes are not necessary when we’re trying to get up on the score board.”
After weeks of practice working on different plays and formations, ASU women’s club water polo is eager to compete for Southwest Division Championships this weekend.
ASU is seeded first and will face NAU on April 12 at 9:30 a.m, followed by a matchup against Utah at 4:30 p.m. the same day.
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