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Water polo heads to Long Beach

Fatigue a factor in four-game tournament

 by Vic Vela
The State Press

 published on Friday, April 16, 2004

ASU 2-meter defender Heather Rempfer, right, tries to pass the ball as USC defender Lauren Wenger blocks her way during a game against USC on Saturday at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.  ASU lost 13-4./issues/sports/662838
ASU 2-meter defender Heather Rempfer, right, tries to pass the ball as USC defender Lauren Wenger blocks her way during a game against USC on Saturday at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. ASU lost 13-4.
 

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As if four nationally ranked teams, in as many weeks, weren't enough to test ASU's water polo squad, the team is about to hit the road for four more games in just two days.

The No. 15 Sun Devils (9-14, 2-8 MPSF) head to California for the Long Beach Invitational for their last tournament of the regular season. The last time ASU played in four games over a two-day stretch was February 7 and 8 for the UCSD invite. While fatigue may set in by late Sunday, the young Sun Devils relish the challenge this weekend.

"I like tournament games," said sophomore Elaine Bentley. "It gives you the chance to play games one right after another.

"It's good to play strong teams in a row -- it helps you learn."

Being a part of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in their first season has meant playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country for the Sun Devils. This weekend, ASU will face two schools they've had success with in UC Santa Cruz and Pacific over the past two years, while they attempt to atone for earlier losses against No. 4 Long Beach State and No. 6 Hawaii.

"Hawaii is a big one," said freshman driver Ashley Bower. "They beat us by one earlier in the season, so we're looking forward to another chance at them. We're looking forward to Long Beach State as well because I don't think we played well against them."

With the MPSF conference tournament two weeks away, the games this weekend should help ASU determine where they stand against fellow conference foes.

"No matter what, we're going to run into a top 10 team in the conference tourney," said Bower. "This will give us a good test."

Reach the reporter at vica.vela@asu.edu.



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