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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona club water polo hosts Southwest Championship at UA

Arizona men’s water polo will be hosting the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southwest Division Championship this weekend. The tournament will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the UA Student Recreation Center.

Arizona, San Diego State, UC Irvine, ASU and San Diego will compete in the tournament. The winner of this tournament will move on to play in the national tournament held in Santa Cruz, California. The Wildcats currently have a 3-5 record and are the fourth seed in the tournament.

“Although we haven’t won too many games before this weekend, we have played each team tight and know that if one or two bounces went our way, those games could have been much different,” said team captain Matt Prestinario.

Arizona is familiar with its opponents this week and can determine what needs to be done in order to win. Defense is one of the Wildcats’ strengths. They steal the ball, have good counterattacks and can prevent shots. Their bench has also been a key attribute this season.

“We have a deep bench and we expect big contributions from our bench players,” Prestinario said.

The Wildcats’ depth will provide them with more energy, more recovery and better endurance. Arizona’s main focus going into the weekend is being aggressive on the offensive end.

“We have to make them play at our pace instead of theirs,” Prestinario said.

Prestinario said the team’s goals are to control the pace of the game, maintain strength and keep composure during tight situations where they can prevent a switch of momentum instead of making simple mistakes.

A key to the Wildcats’ success will be capitalizing during the “man-up” plays. The concept is playing six versus five for 20 seconds. Scoring on these drives will give the UA a chance to advance deep within the tournament.

Seniors Jordan Bishop and Patrick Shearer lead Arizona and will provide the Wildcats with solid all around play, strong defense and aggressive offense. Sophomore Matt Cook has a chance to step up and make a huge impact while junior Mohammed Alboloushi is their offensive strength, which can dictate speed of play, make quick decisions and be an offensive powerhouse.

The Wildcats’ first game will be Saturday against UC Irvine at 1:20 p.m. The next game will be played against No. 1 San Diego.

UA has a lot of confidence for both games because of their previous defeat over UC Irvine and because of how competitively they have played San Diego over the season. These two games will determine UA’s standing when they play on Sunday.

Follow Gia Trevisan on Twitter.

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