Beating a top five team is priority No. 1 for Aztecs

by Antonio Morales

Peter Kluch / Senior Staff Photographer
Peter Kluch / Senior Staff Photographer

Currently holding a spot in the Top 10 and owning five wins against ranked teams would leave most teams satisfied, but the San Diego State water polo team is still trying to prove it belongs.

Zero wins and three losses — that’s SDSU’s record against top-six opponents this season. That’s also a statistic No. 7 SDSU wants to change.

Junior goalkeeper Kelly Campoli said beating teams above them is on the Aztecs’ mind, but it’s going to be a challenge.

“To beat a team ranked above us is one of our goals,” Campoli said. “We need to keep it close and do whatever it takes to win. It’s going to be challenging because those teams in the top five are in a different category than the other teams we play.”

There are plenty of opportunities for the Aztecs to pull off upsets this season. The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation is a powerhouse.

The top five consists of nothing but MPSF teams, and as of Feb. 23, the conference had all eight of its teams ranked in the top 11 in the country.

Senior driver and team captain Sarah Brady welcomes the chance for the team to prove itself against stiff competition.

“We always want to get the upset,” Brady said. “We want to show that we belong.”

Head coach Carin Crawford believes her team has something to prove against the best teams in the sport.

“We have everything to prove, because we haven’t been able to consistently beat those teams the past couple of years,” Crawford said. “We come after those teams hard. We have everything to prove, but at the same time we have nothing to lose.”

Being in position to win late in the game is key to the Aztecs’ chances of pulling off an upset.

“The main challenge is to be in position to win in the fourth quarter,” Crawford said. “We need to keep the game close, and execute well.”

SDSU will get another opportunity to earn its first win against a top-five opponent this weekend when it welcomes No. 1 Stanford at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Aztec Aquaplex.

Campoli isn’t shying away from the opportunity to play the top-ranked team in America.

“We know they’re No. 1 and the best team,” Campoli said. “We’re going to play as a team. We have nothing to lose.”