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Water polo to counter Stanford

The Sun Devil water polo team will be back in the pool Saturday for a rematch against No. 1 Stanford.

The No. 6 Sun Devils received runner-up honors when the teams last played in early February, and Stanford eked out a one-goal victory, giving ASU its second of six losses in the season.

ASU coach Todd Clapper said that both Stanford and ASU are different teams now than they were when they first met, and that his team is confident and ready for round two.

“They’re better, were better, and we’re ready to play,” Clapper said. “They are a big fast-breaking team, and that’s part of the battle.”

Clapper said he thinks the team is prepared for the rematch, and they have identified what they need to do to win.

“We need to slow them down,” he said. “We need to take away some of their opportunities on the counter attack and make it a half court game.”

Coming off a 10-5 loss last weekend to No. 3 ranked UCLA, Clapper said the team played well but didn’t capitalize on several opportunities.

“There were times defensively that we outplayed them and some times it was even, but when they outplayed us, they scored goals and we didn’t,” he said. “We hung tough for a while, we made some mistakes that cost us, but we came out of it motivated to really practice hard. The energy has been good, and we’re starting to play smart.”

Clapper said he was pleased with the way the team responded to the loss, and that there is a new confidence among the team.

“We had a really good week of practice, people have stepped up,” he said. “Everyone is playing well so we’ll have one more practice tomorrow to do some touch-up stuff, but we’re feeling good.”

The week-in, week-out question of who will be starting in net remains, Clapper said, but any one of the three goalies should be ready to play come Saturday.

“Our goalies have been competing pretty hard, all of them, so it could be any of the three,” Clapper said. “Taylor [Greenberg] has been playing very well, and she’s keeping it competitive.”

Greenberg, a junior, returned to the team this season, after being

red-shirted her freshman year and leaving the sport for the past two years.

The game against Stanford will be Saturday at noon at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe.

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