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Water polo heads to Irvine for tournament

ASU water polo coach Todd Clapper talks to his players during a practice game at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center earlier in the season. (Damien Maloney/The State Press)

Coming off a bye week after dropping three of four contests in their last tournament, the ASU water polo team is ready to return to the pool and get down to business.

This weekend the team heads to Irvine, Calif., to play in the UC Irvine Invitational tournament and attempt to get their season back on track with a few wins.

The No. 10 Sun Devils (7-3) will play No. 7 UC Davis Saturday afternoon to kick off the tournament.

To be successful this weekend the Sun Devils will have to shut down UC Davis sophomore center Dakotah Mohr. Mohr was named the Big West Player of the Week last week after posting 13 goals and 13 drawn exclusions in four games at a tournament in Bakersfield.

Junior center Kelly Phelps said that the team can’t focus on strictly offense this week in order to be successful.

“We’ve been really working on our defense the past two weeks,” she said. “The offenses we’re playing are good and we need to shut them down.”

She said the bye week was helpful and that the team used the time off to work on conditioning and getting ready for this weekend’s tournament.

Phelps said the team learned from their rough weekend at Stanford and is focusing on playing “their” game.

“We definitely allowed some goals in the last few games that we shouldn’t have,” she said. “That’s what we can’t let happen this weekend. We’re a good team and as long as we play at the level we know we can play, we’ll do fine.”

ASU coach Todd Clapper has been emphasizing the importance of the team playing “their” game all season.

Clapper said the Sun Devils have only conformed to another team’s style once this year when they played Cal State Northridge for the second time this season, a game they won a goal.

The Sun Devils will need big games from senior Addison McGrath, sophomore Lynlee Smith, and freshman Bella Morrison.

Morrison made her collegiate debut in the teams last tournament scoring two goals against USC. Clapper said that Morrison is “part of the system,” and with McGrath and Smith the focus of any opponent’s defense, she will need to be.

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