Only becoming an official sport at Arizona State a little over a decade ago, the Sun Devil water polo program has established itself as one of the elite programs in the nation. A consistent top-five team these past four seasons, the Sun Devils are now a program mentioned in the same breath as perennial powerhouses such as Stanford, USC, UCLA and Cal advancing the program’s first NCAA Tournament in 2014 and taking fifth overall.
Finding the perfect blend of exceptional talent from within the United States combined with some of the top young water polo players from around the world, head coach Todd Clapper has built a program that is diverse, successful and exciting to watch. With 28 All-America honors to the programs name and over 75 national All-Academic honors, the Sun Devils pride themselves as a program that gets it done both in and out of the pool and the ASU squad shows no signs of slowing down in the near future.
In the heart of campus in Downtown Tempe, the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center is considered one of the finest outdoor swimming and diving facilities in collegiate sports across the country. Three pools cover the deck: an Olympic size, 7-foot-deep competition, and smaller warm-up lap pool. It was built in 1981 and can seat 2,000 spectators.
The facility was named after the late Plummer in 1985 due to her overwhelming amount of achievements and contributions to the school. Plummer coached 22 years and mentored many Olympians and dozens of All-Americans. She earned National Coach of the Year in 1979 and led the Sun Devils to eight national titles.
The Mona Plummer Aquatic Center played host to the 2015 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, featuring an elite cast of teams that would represent the top four teams in the nation at the NCAA Championships
A 2012 renovation of the pool included the demolition and replaster of three swimming pools, one Olympic size pool, one Dive Well and one practice pool, new cool decking, new lighting, a remodel of both Men's and Women's showers, additional trench drains, rubberized flooring and two new three meter dive platforms.
The Aquatics Center features a team room, a training room, two shower rooms, men’s and women’s bathrooms and plays host to numerous offices for the staff and coaches.
The Sun Devils have established themselves as one of the elite teams in the country in the last couple years. In the last four seasons, the Sun Devils have compiled an 84-34 record under head coach Todd Clapper. In that time, the team has posted 11 All-America honors while earning the first victory over UCLA in program history, beating Cal on the road for the first time ever and matching a program best upset with a victory over second-ranked USC in 2014.
ASU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history in 2014, taking fifth overall with a victory over UC Irvine. The Sun Devils posted a program-best fourth-place finish in the MPSF Championships and CWPA Final Coaches Poll in 2013 (peaking at a program best No. 3 in the 2013 regular seasons) and have set school records in wins in two of the last four seasons seasons as well.
Todd Clapper earned his 172nd career victory as Sun Devil head coach and 277th victory as a head coach during the 2015 season. In 2014, the skipper guided the Sun Devils to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, where the squad placed fifth overall.
Redshirt senior E.B. Keeve has been the catalyst behind a renewed defensive effort and has set school records for single-season saves per game in each of her three seasons starting for the Devils. Keeve was named to the U.S. Senior National Team for the Summer of 2014.
During their first-ever NCAA Championship appearance, the Sun Devils took fifth place after knocking off sixth-seeded UC Irvine to complete the best finish in program history.
Two current Sun Devils, E.B Keeve and Izabella Chiappini, and a former Sun Devil, Rowie Webster, participated in the 2014 FINA Women’s Intercontinental Water Polo Tournament. Chiappini scored eight goals during a game against Kazakstan and finished the tournament with 20 goals over the course of the week. In addition, Keeve logged double-digit saves in two games and helped lead the U.S. National Team to a runner-up finish.
The Sun Devils knocked off UCLA for the first time in program history on March 2 with a 7-6 victory at home. UCLA had been one of just two teams the Sun Devils had never defeated in program history prior to that victory.
Despite the relative youth of the Sun Devil program, Arizona State has built quite the reputation of success in such a short time. Since becoming a program in 2001-02, the Sun Devils have posted 28 All-America honors, over 30 MPSF Athlete of the Week selections and two Olympians. ASU has had an All-American in each of the last eight seasons, including a program best four selections in 2013. ASU has compiled an overall record of 84-34 (.711) in the last four seasons. The Sun Devil program had two representatives in the 2012 London Olympic Games in current senior Ao Gao (China) and former standout Rowie Webster (Australia).
Despite only being with the Sun Devils for one season, Rowie Webster had one of the most successful years in school history as she set the freshman goals scored record with 63 before moving back to Australia to compete for the National Team there, of which she was a member of the 2012 London Olympics roster.
Ao Gao competed competed in two Olympics Games for the Sun Devils. The Beijing native was named to the 2008 All-Star Olympic team after her performance at the Beijing Games.
ASU’s first All-American ever in the goalkeeper position, Caylinn Wallace owned just about every goalkeeping record in ASU history including career saves (1,087), season saves (346), season saves per game (10.52) and career saves per game (9.54) prior to E.B. Keeve’s arrival. Wallace is one of just two players in ASU history to be named the MPSF Athlete of the Week four times.
One of the pioneers of ASU water polo and its current rise to the top, Addison McGrath holds the school record in goals scored (237) and points scored (348) while she sits second in career assists (111). Before Alicia Brightwell in 2012, McGrath was the only Sun Devil in school history to earn first-team All-America honors.
Though she only had two years as a Sun Devil, Alicia Brightwell will go down as one of the best players in school history. The MPSF scoring champion in 2012, Brightwell is the only player outside Addison McGrath to be named an ACWPA first-team All-American in school history. A two-time All-American, Brightwell finished her career at ASU with 159 goals - good for third in ASU career history - while her 207 total points are seventh in ASU history.
Haas will go down as one of the top centers in Arizona State history. She finished her career ranked second in career goals with 200. Haas matched a school record in 2012 when she scored seven goals in a game against San Diego State. Her 214 career points are good for sixth in ASU history.
The Sun Devils have been quite active on the annual ACWPC All-Academic Teams over the years. Overall, 40 Sun Devils have earned ACWPC All-Academic honors in their careers in Tempe with a total of 76 accolades combined. Of those 40 women, 22 have been honored two or more times in their careers. The Sun Devils have made the All-Academic Team as a program in seven seasons now and three of the last five. The awards are separated into three tiers based upon the overall GPA of student-athletes.
In addition to being the only Sun Devil in history outside Addison McGrath to finish in the top-six in all the major statistical categories, Mariam Salloum was the only player in ASU history to earn three ‘Outstanding’ honors from the ACWPA when it came to national All-Academic teams. Salloum finished her career with a 3.85 GPA in political science.
Nikki Unbehaun is one of just three players in ASU history to be named to the ACWPA All-Academic teams in all four years of eligibility. Unbehaun was a ‘Superior’ selection all four seasons, awarded to student-athletes with a GPA average between 3.41 and 3.70.
Bonnie Miles, alongside Nikki Unbehaun and Mariam Salloum, is one of just three players in ASU history to earn ACWPA All-Academic honors in all four seasons of her eligibility. She earned three ‘Superior’ awards and one ‘Outstanding’ award as a senior.
Ianeta Hutchinson recieved the Elite 89 award for the NCAA Division I Women’s Water Polo Championship. Hutchinson finished her career with 4.00 GPA in psychology
Todd Clapper enters his 11th year as the head coach of the Arizona State University program and his 12th season overall with the Sun Devils after serving as the assistant coach in 2005. Clapper, who guided the U.S. Women’s Youth National Team to gold at the Pan-Am Games (junior division) and was named the 2006 USOC Water Polo National Coach of the Year, holds a career record of 280-191, including six seasons at Brown. Clapper holds a 172-117 record at the helm of the Sun Devils and has put together four straight winning seasons, going 84-34 in that time span and finishing in the top five nationally in three of the four years. In 2014, Clapper helped guide ASU to its first berth in the NCAA Tournament in program history, garnering a fifth-place overall finish. Clapper’s athletes have earned 28 All-America honors with him at the helm, 17 in the last five seasons.
Jeffrey Colton - Assistant Coach
In his first season with the Sun Devils, assistant Jeffrey Colton brings over a decade of coaching experience with him to Tempe. The previous four seasons, Colton coached the Foothill High School (Santa Ana, Calif) Women’s team. For the past four seasons, Colton coached the Foothill High School (Santa Ana, Calif) Women’s team. During his time there, Colton led his squad to a CIF Division I runner-up finish in 2011 and back-to-back semifinal appearances in 2012 and 2013. Colton also add coaching stops at San Clemente High and Villa Park High Schools dating back to 2002. Known for getting the most out of his athletes in and out of the pool, 86 percent of Colton's water polo players maintained a GPA of 3.0 or above and 44 percent had higher than a 4.0 average.