Sitting in the top half of the national rankings is a squad that has quietly played solid water polo all season long and will be a factor at what should be a riveting Big West tournament. San Diego State is currently ranked eighth in the country and is one of five Big West teams ranked in the nation’s top 10. In fact, every team playing for the Big West title is currently ranked in the nation’s top 20.

The Aztecs are led by Head Coach Carin Crawford. Crawford has led the Aztecs to two NCAA tournament appearances since the program’s inception in 2001 and has coached 31 All-Americans. Find out how Crawford plans to prepare for the competition at the conference tournament.

What does San Diego State need to do to win the Big West?

“The Big West has been strong this season and its strength is its balance. We know that we need to win three games in three days, however we do not want to project past our first opponent. To make it to NCAAs, we need to take it one game at a time and play well the entire weekend.”

All-American Amber Pezzola has performed well for your squad this season. What do you think her strengths are?

“Amber Pezzola is likely the quickest player in the water that I have ever coached. She is fast, strong and a great shooter. Amber has been an outstanding player for us all four years that she has been here.”

Anique Hermann is another key player for the Aztecs. Explain her role on the team?

“Anique Hermann like Amber is extremely fast. Anique and Amber lead our counterattack down opposite sides of the pool. Anique does do a lot of different things as she leads our team in assists, is great defensively and leads our team in steals. Anique can also score and has improved overall since her freshman year.”

How has Rachel Mitchell done in her first year as a goalkeeper for San Diego State?

“Rachel Mitchell was put in a tough spot as we asked her as a freshman to step in and replace a four-time All-American goalie in Kelly Campoli. She has done an outstanding job this season. Rachel does more than just block the ball as she is an outstanding passer. When you talk about Amber and Anique leading our counterattack, it is Rachel who is feeding them the ball.”