April 25, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Over the last 16 games, the Villanova women's water polo team has posted eight wins and eight losses for a .500 mark, which was highlighted by a five-game win streak. The water polo squad holds an 8-20 overall record with a 4-8 conference script as they head to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. for MAAC Championships on Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th.
Head Coach Damon Newman
1) Talk about this team. Their accomplishments and how they improved as the season went on.
"We have done pretty well this year. In terms of just wins and losses, we have won a couple more games than we have in the last couple of years. We had a five-game win streak in the middle of the season. The team has come along in terms of having seniors and a pretty big junior class. We have a new goalie in and have a strong freshman class, and that has come together a little bit. We have made a pretty good run towards the end and we were able to qualify for championships."
2) What has been different about this season as opposed to last in terms of success? Did you establish a new approach coming into the season?
"We have done things a little differently this year. We didn't go away on a training trip. Normally we go to California, but we didn't go away this year and decided to stay local. Things are being done a little differently as far as dry-land workouts versus traditional weight training that we have done in the past. Franco has put together various dry-land workouts."
I think our approach in the pool has been similar to how it has been in the past, but I think it has been a combination of hard work, and like I said before, the influx of freshmen. The freshmen on the team have pushed some players along this season. Also, having a top heavy class of juniors and seniors has helped with the recent success."
3) Discuss the strengths of the team? What element has led you to where you are now?
"The strength of our team comes through our defense. We have always preached that. Our team defense is probably one of our strengths this year. We have done a pretty good job of trying to hold opponents to under ten goals, it hasn't always worked, but we always try to preach defense."
"I think we have done a pretty good job on our power play. I'd love to get a little bit better at it, but I think we have put ourselves in position to get those types of power plays. We have a strong two-meter player and we have had some fortunate outside shooting this year so it has been a good combination of success offensively."
4) Who has emerged as a leader this season? Did one individual claim this role or have many?
"I think our leadership comes from a lot of the juniors and seniors. Our captains have a done a great job this year. Sarah Armel and Maria Campanile have done a really good job in terms of motivating the girls behind the scenes. They have shown a good amount of leadership. There is also a big junior class and those individuals have shown themselves to be very good leaders. I think it has been a combination of our juniors and seniors, and some of our underclassmen too."
5) How vital has the play of Maddi Moore been to the overall performance of the team? Talk about the first-year players too.
"Maddi has been great for us this year. She has had some really good games for us. She has been a steady and reliable goaltender all year in net. She has been a great, great addition to the team so we are really happy to have her."
"We have had a couple first-year players that have played significant minutes this year. Callan Edwards, freshmen lefthander, has done a really good job for us this year. She has been a really steady and solid defender, and has good defensive instincts. Offensively, she has been able to do a really good job for us in terms of making passes and helping facilitate our power play. Sadie Dutcher has done a nice job for us this year as well. She has come off the bench and performed well on defense. She has added some good goals in key moments in MAAC play. She is learning a new position, which has been in the center of the two-meter position. Those are two freshmen that have had a tremendous impact on our team."
6) Describe your feelings on earning a MAAC tournament berth for the first time since 2007.
"It has been a long time since we have been in the MAAC tournament. It has been about six years, so it has been really exciting for us this year. We have talked about it all year and we have made it a priority to focus on what we are going to do. It is always coach's dream to be able to accomplish a goal that you set out, as well as a player's dream. It has been a really good feeling. We haven't been able to accomplish this in a really long time. I'm really proud of the girls in the way they have handled themselves this year."
7) What are your thoughts on the toughness of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference? What do you expect to see in the tournament?
"The MAAC conference has been really tough this year. I think the four teams that are in the tournament now have earned their place in the tournament. We play Iona, which is the number 1 seed. They went to nationals last year. Their team is really talented and they are a tough opponent to face. We are hoping to get out on the right foot when the games begin this weekend."