Friday Feature: Juliet Moss - Backhand Blaster

    In most sports, one has to face the target to score and succeed. The “bicycle kick” in soccer and the backhanded blast in water polo are two exceptions.

    Returning All-America water polo star Juliet Moss is adept at the shot from roughly two meters in front of the goal mouth. The senior from San Jose has done it twice this season in wins against #4-ranked Hawaii and #7-ranked Arizona State.

    Moss, who began the 2009 season with 126 career goals, positions herself with her back to the goal and a defender draped over her hoping to dislodge ball, cause a turnover and get the defending team out of trouble.

    “When I started playing water polo in high school, my coach taught me how,” said the Mount Pleasant High product.

    “Any goal helps the team get pumped up. Any score out of (2-meter) set helps me get pumped up, because you rarely get the ball (there). We know where we are, because the other cage is at the other end (of the pool). We know exactly where we are in the cage. It’s a quick shot to catch everybody off guard.”

    Think of a tossing a frisbee as hard as possible across the water. With her 6-foot-1 frame and reach, Moss generates considerable velocity in the shot for the #7-ranked Spartans.

    “A lot of people can do backhands. It’s not that hard once you get the technique down. You’ve got to get separation from the defender behind you and rip it,” Moss said modestly.

    Second on the 2009 San Jose State team (7-4, 1-0 MPSF) in scoring with 20 goals, Moss may call on the backhand again on February 14 when the Spartans host #6-ranked California (12-0, 0-0 MPSF) at the Aquatics Center. Match time is 12:00 p.m.