Water Polo Routes Salem in Saturday's Win
TEMPE, Ariz. – To close out the weekend at Mona Plummer, No. 9 Sun Devil Water Polo (5-6) defeated the Salem Tigers 22-5– the most goals since posting 23 against CBU last season, and the fourth most goals scored at home in program history.
"We needed this psychologically for our confidence." Noted Head Coach Todd Clapper after the weekend sweep. "We put the ball away and got lots of opportunities to score."
Four Sun Devil Scorers recorded 4+ points on the day, including Abby Begg who accounted for seven points today off of three goals and four assists. Vanda Baksa and Bianca Becerra tallied five and four goals apiece on the day respectively, three Sun Devils recorded hat tricks on the day. Tarah Schaffer notched two goals and two assists in her four-point day.
With just five ASU exclusions in the game, Clapper noted his team's poise, "The team did a great job playing defense. We got out on the counter and they found their teammates to score fast"
After giving up three goals in the first quarter to Salem, the Sun Devils allowed just two goals in the final three frames. For a second straight game, every player on the active roster made an appearance in the pool.
Baksa netted her hat trick early on with three goals in the first quarter, including her made penalty shot to open up scoring. ASU took the early 1-0 lead and didn't look back. A 3-0 ASU run early, thanks to Stevilyn Griffin and Luca Petovary gave ASU a 6-3 cushion headed into the second quarter.
In the second consecutive quarter, the Sun Devils scored six goals, three of them coming from Becerra in that quarter. Baksa had the final two goals of the frame to get her five goals early on, and the defense managed to hold Salem scoreless in the second to take a 12-3 lead into the half– which is the largest halftime lead for the team this season.
Blaire McDowell won the opening sprint to start the third, and two quick drawn exclusions made the power play easy for Lara Kiss, who found the back of the net a minute into the quarter. Marie Rudasics started the second half in goal, and held the Tigers scoreless for a second consecutive quarter. In the final four minutes of the third, Becerra picked up another goal and Abby Begg tacked on a goal in back-to-back Sun Devil possessions for the 17-3 lead headed
into the final quarter.
Olivia Traxler scored one minute into the fourth to extend the lead, and give the new ASU goalie, Molly Ostrowski, some insurance. Tarah Schaffer's two goals came in the final minutes of this quarter, as well as goals from Emily Bennett and Alba Olivé Martí to secure the 22-5 win.
UP NEXT: The Sun Devils will have next weekend off before traveling to Irvine, California to compete in the Barbara Kalbus Invitational Tournament. Games, teams, and times are still TBD but will be updated as soon as the information is received.