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Women's Water Polo: Warde steps up for Team USA

UC Irvine player, who made women's senior national team, records three steals in easy win over Brazil at FINA World League Prelims.

May 25, 2013|By Matt Szabo

LOS ALAMITOS — Danielle Warde did not follow the same path as many of her teammates on the U.S. senior women's national team.

Growing up, Warde was known as a powerful and dynamic center at Edison High before graduating in 2010. But she was not a mainstay on the cadet, youth or junior national team rosters.

In fact, it was the opposite. She said she never made any of those squads.

"I actually tried out for the youth team, the zone team, and I just never made it," Warde said. "It kind of shot my confidence a little bit, so I stopped doing it ... I just wasn't ready, I guess. I guess I was a late bloomer. Maybe I didn't think I could do it. I don't know."

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But that doubtful teenager wasn't what spectators saw Saturday afternoon at the USA Water Polo national training center. What they saw was a confident, smart 20-year-old who was a sparkplug for Team USA. Warde, a Newport Beach resident and redshirt junior at UC Irvine, led all players with three steals as the U.S. women blanked Brazil, 10-0, in a FINA World League Prelims match.

Warde also had an assist in the win, which improved the Team USA women to 2-0 at the prelims. It has been quite a whirlwind time for Warde, who tried out for the senior national team just last weekend. She made the cut as a defender.

"It's a lot different than anything I've ever done," Warde said. "It was a lot of hours, obviously, and just a really good learning experience. I learned a lot in one weekend, and it's helped my game a lot already. I'm pretty excited for what's to come."

Warde is eager for the competition. She was a two-time All-Big West Conference first-team selection for the Anteaters in 2011 and '12, but she redshirted at UC Irvine this season. UCI Coach Dan Klatt, who also is an assistant coach for the women's national team, said Warde and two other players redshirted so his large freshman class could get more experience and playing time.

"I thought we could be a really good team the following year," Klatt said. "And I just thought it was what was best for the program in general. We were still really competitive. I was really proud of the way the team did this year.

"The way that she and the other girls [Jessy Cardey and Annika Bergesen] handled it was really impressive. It's hard not to play ... [but] they kept aggressive, kept in good fitness and really worked on their game. I think that's one of the reasons why she's here, even without playing that college season."

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