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Baksa Becomes All-time Freshman Goal Scorer in Loss to No. 4 Cal

Mar 18, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Water Polo (13-9, 1-2) kept it close through three quarters against No. 4 California (13-2, 2-2) in the 15-7 loss, behind freshman attacker Vanda Baksa's early hat trick. Her three goals today put her in sole possession of the program's all-time freshman goal record, with 64, passing Rowie Webster's 63 goals in 2006. The Sun Devils will have a week of rest before hitting the road to face Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foe UCLA during the first weekend of April.

With Baksa's three goal and one assist performance against the Golden Bears, Baksa leads the NCAA in goals (63), points (106), field blocks (18), and is second in assists with 42. She has now recorded 3+ goals in 10 of the last 11 games. 

Baksa continues to add to her record season, after taking sole possession of the single-season freshman goal, assist, and point categories. Her 64 goals are sixth most in a single season in program history, and the 42 assists she's tacked on are tied for fifth in a single season with Addison McGrath's 2008 total. The 106 points Baksa has tallied on the season not only continue to improve the freshman point record, but are third most in a single season behind Alicia Brightwell's 111 (2013) and Addison McGrath's 123 (2008).

Marie Rudasics got the start in net for the Sun Devils, and in her fourth straight start she tallied eight saves for 48 on the season. The Sun Devil defense stood strong against top-five ranked California and notched seven steals on the day, and drew nine exclusions–including one penalty, and went an impressive 50% on man-up opportunities. 

Cal netted two goals, and Vanda Baksa's goal in the first made it a 2-1 game at the end of one. Baksa scored off of an early penalty shot in the second to tie the game at two, but Cal scored the next three goals of the game to pull away with a 5-2 lead. Baksa's third goal of the game came with less than a minute left in the second half to bring the Sun Devils within three at the half. 

Cal won the opening sprint in the third quarter and scored on their first possession, but goals from Luca Petovary and Emma Fraser brought ASU within 2 in the final minutes of the third. Cal scored off of a penalty shot to bring their lead back to three while the two teams each traded another goal to make it a 9-6 game after three quarters of play. 

The Golden Bears managed to hold their lead and add to it in the final quarter to close out the game and hand the Sun Devils their second conference loss.