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Water Polo Powers Past SDSU to Close Out Stanford Invitational

Feb 6, 2022

STANFORD, Calif. –  Sun Devil water polo (4-6) closed out the Stanford Invitational Tournament with another split on the day in the win over No.17 San Diego State (0-2) and defeat by MPSF foe, No. 4 California (11-0). The six goals by San Diego State was the fewest goals an opponent has scored against the Sun Devil thus far this season. 

The 11-6 win over the Aztecs marks the 13th straight win over SDSU, dating back to 2012, meanwhile ASU will have another shot at Cal later this season when they return to Tempe.

The Sun Devil defense is a force to be reckoned with, and closed out the weekend strong. Freshman Attacker Vanda Baksa currently leads the NCAA in field blocks with 13, and Bori Kekesi and Lara Kiss are close behind at 3rd and 10th, respectively. Kiss and Baksa are also tied for third most steals in the NCAA with 15 apiece, and Kekesi's 14 steals are sixth best in the league. 

The Sun Devils are the only team in the NCAA to have three players in the top-10 in both categories. 

Offensively, Baksa is second in the NCAA in points with 40 (22G-18A) behind only Olympic Gold Medalist Maddie Musselman's 45 points. Baksa's 18 assists have her at second in the league behind UCSB's Cailtyn Snyder with 21 of her own.

Game one vs. Cal:

In the rematch against No. 4 California, the Golden Bears took an early 4-0 lead to start the game with four goals in the first quarter. 

Amira Van Buren got ASU on the board in the second, and the Sun Devil Defense held Cal to just one goal in that second frame. Vanda Baksa and Blaire McDowell led the way defensively, as they each recorded three steals against Cal. ASU stayed in it while facing a 5-1 deficit at the half. 

ASU put two goals on the board in the third quarter thanks to Vanda Baksa's penalty shot and Blaire McDowell's laser to the back of the net. The Golden Bears put up four goals in the third quarter to take a 9-3 lead into the final frame.

In the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, both teams traded early goals, with ASU's Baksa netting her second of the day. ASU held Cal to just two goals in the final frame, and the Sun Devil offense had their highest scoring quarter of the day with three goals to close it out. 

Game two vs. SDSU: 

The Sun Devils came out of the gate swinging with two early goals from Lara Kiss and Amira Van Buren to open up the game with a 2-0 lead. SDSU battled back to keep it close after one, but ASU took a 4-2 lead into the second quarter. 

Borbala Kekesi won the opening sprint and Blaire McDowell capitalized on the first possession with a goal 30 seconds into the second quarter to keep the Sun Devil Momentum. Vanda Baksa also netted a goal, good for her second of the game. The defensive unit for ASU held the Aztecs to just two goals again in the second quarter to give them the 7-4 cushion at the half. 

Baca came off of an impressive two blocked penalty shots against Stanford, and blocked one early on in the third quarter to keep it a three goal game. A few Sun Devil exclusions were called, and SDSU brought it back within two. Kiss tacked on two assists in the third quarter to give ASU some cushion. Abby Begg and Kekesi tacked on the Sun Devil goals, while the defense stood strong to hold SDSU to just one goal in the quarter. 

Amira Van Buren was the first to score in the final quarter, which gave ASU their largest lead of the game at five goals. McDowell was whistled for the penalty foul, and SDSU successfully converted their shot to pull within four. ASU allowed just one foal in the fourth quarter, while scoring two of their own to keep the lead and secure the 11-6 win.

UP NEXT: The Sun Devils will return home to host an invitational of their own, with Cal State East Bay, Salem, and OUAZ in town. ASU will play Cal State East Bay on Feb 11 at 12:45 pm MST, and face Salem on Feb 12 at 1:45 pm MST. Both games will be streamed via the ASU Live Stream.