Jan. 27, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State water polo team (0-0) opens its 2003 campaign, its second as a varsity team, by playing host to the ASU Invitational at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center this weekend. The tournament runs Saturday and Sunday and includes No. 16 Hartwick College, No. 19 Pacific and UC Santa Cruz.
HANDING OUT THE HARDWARE
For guiding the Sun Devils to a 10-17 record in the program's first varsity season and bringing collegiate water polo to the state of Arizona, Vicki Gorman, ASU head coach, was recently named 2002 USWP Women's Elite Coach of the Year for the Southwest Zone. She is now eligible for the national honor which will be announced at a later date.
The second-year Sun Devils are not ranked in the preseason Collegiate Coaches Top 20 National Poll, but several of their 2003 opponents are. Teams in the poll ASU is slated to face this year are No. 4 Long Beach State, No. 6 Loyola Marymount, No. 7 San Jose State, No. 11 Michigan, No. 12 UC Irvine, No. 13 UC Santa Barbara, No. 14 Indiana, No. 16 Hartwick and No. 19 Pacific.
ASU INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
10 a.m. - #19 Pacific vs. #16 Hartwick
11:30 a.m. - ASU vs. UC Santa Cruz
3:30 p.m. - #19 Pacific vs. UC Santa Cruz
5 p.m. - ASU vs. #16 Hartwick
9:30 p.m. - #16 Hartwick vs. UC Santa Cruz
11 a.m. - ASU vs. #16 Hartwick
2:30 p.m. - ASU vs. UC Santa Cruz
SCOUTING: NO. 19 PACIFIC
Led by second-year head coach Ryan Brown, the Tigers return to the pool looking to improve from 2002 when they went 6-19 overall and 1-10 in MPSF play. Their lone conference win, an 11-6 victory over Cal State Northridge, was the first since the 1998 season. After allowing 230 goals a year ago, the Tigers will rely on senior goalie Julie Ross to shut down opponents and keep UOP in the game.
THE SERIES: NO. 19 PACIFIC
The Tigers hold a 1-0 record in the series after defeating the Sun Devils last year, 11-3, at the Long Beach State tournament. Ashley Orzalli scored twice and Lindsey Murillo added the third tally in the loss.
SCOUTING: NO. 16 HARTWICK
Michael Maroney is back at the helm for his fourth season at Hartwick and will look to guide his team to the Final Four after falling one goal short last year. The Hawks lost to Michigan in the Eastern final, 7-6, in overtime. HC will look to junior Sheri Johnson who is the top returning scorer with a 67 goals and 28 assists last year (93 points). She was third to All-American Megan Thomson who led the team with 121 points on 94 goals and 27 assists.
THE SERIES: NO. 16 HARTWICK
HC played host to the only meeting in the series last year and posted a 14-6 victory over the visiting Sun Devils in Oneonta, N.Y. Ashley Orzalli led the offense with a hat-trick while Bryn Kuech, Kim Yost and Lena Soghomonian each recorded a goal.
SCOUTING: UC SANTA CRUZ
The Slugs, under the direction of co-head coaches Randy Whitchurch and Alan Chima, will look to return to the Division III Collegiate Water Polo Association Championships after finishing fourth last year. Competing against Division I and II teams for most of the year, the Slugs posted an 11-30 record. Returning to lead the offense this year is sophomore Emily Erskine, who was third on the team last year with 52 goals.
THE SERIES: UC SANTA CRUZ
The ASU-UCSC series is one of just five that consists of more than one game following the Sun Devils first season. The Slugs also are the only team that ASU has defeated twice. In the first meeting at UCSC in the SlugFest Tournament, ASU defeated the hosts 7-6 in overtime. Bryn Kuech scored three goals and Kim Yost added two.
In the second game, at the Long Beach State tournament, ASU again posted seven goals, defeating the Slugs 7-5. Yost scored three goals to lead the way while Lindsey Murillo, Orzalli and Lena Soghomonian each tallied once.
LAST TIME OUT: 2002 IN REVIEW
For the first time in Arizona State athletic history, the Sun Devils fielded a water team. Those ladies came together and posted a 10-17 record as an independent (ASU will join the MPSF in 2004). Kim Yost and Nancy Holmes provided the leadership for the young team as the Sun Devils dropped seven games by one point and went 3-1 in overtime. Yost pumped in 51 goals and 32 assists while Holmes saved 209 shots and allowed 189 into the cage.
In all, ASU was 2-2 at home, dropping its first game ever, 8-6 in overtime, to visiting Santa Clara. The Sun Devils won the second game of the doubleheader, 9-2. ASU went 6-12 away from the confines of the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center with a 6-9 mark on neutral sites.
HEAD COACH VICKI GORMAN
Vicki Gorman returns to the helm of the Sun Devil water polo program after leading the team to a 10-17 record last year. Her first season saw the team go 3-1 in overtime contests and post a 2-2 home record. ASU went 6-9 in neutral contests and 0-3 as the visiting team. For her career, the 2002 USWP Southwest Zone Elite Coach of the Year holds a career record of 40-106, including four seasons of coaching at Pacific (1998-02).
MONA PLUMMER AQUATIC CENTER
ASU's Mona Plummer Aquatic Center is the home to Sun Devil water polo and swimming and diving. Opened in July 1981, the center seats 2,000 fans and has played host to numerous events, such as NCAA diving zone championships, USA junior and masters level diving championships and will serve as the host venue for the 2003 US Masters Swimming Championships.
NEXT TIME IN THE POOL
The Sun Devils return to action next weekend with a trip to the UC San Diego tournament, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 8-9, in San Diego, Calif. ASU's opponents and game times will be announced later this week.