Skip to main content

Water Polo Puts up a Fight in Close Loss to No. 1 USC

Apr 9, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz.In a game that the Sun Devils never felt out of against the defending National Champs, the early push by No. 1 USC (16-2, 5-0) was enough to hand No. 9 Sun Devil Water Polo (13-11, 1-4) a 15-11 loss at home on Saturday. Vanda Baksa recorded her 10th straight game with 3+ goals after her four goal performance against the Trojans and extended her scoring streak to 16 straight games. 

"I am very, very proud of the team and that we stuck with them [USC] and didn't really let them step away from us," noted Interim Head Coach Petra Pardi, after her team was matching the Trojan's energy every step of the way. 

The Sun Devils will have their final game of the regular season at home against MPSF opponent Indiana on April 16 at 1:00 pm Arizona time, and will be highlighted by the celebration of the Senior class for Senior Day.

Itzahiana Baca got the start in net and tallied seven saves on the day, as the Sun Devil defense held the Trojans to just four goals in the second half– which is tied for third fewest goals in the second half all season for USC. 

USC scored the first three goals of the game, but a goal from Borbala Kekesi stopped the early bleeding. Stevilyn Griffin, Vanda Baksa, and Lara Kiss also managed to get on the board in the frame to keep it a 5-4 game after one. Kiss's impressive power play goal to make it a one-score game came with just :02 remaining on the clock.

The Trojans managed to outscore ASU 6-4 in the second quarter to give them the 11-8 lead at the half despite goals from Bori Kekesi, Emma Fraser, Vanda Baksa, and Amira Van Buren. Fraser notched two of her three assists in the first half to keep the Devils within striking distance. 

After a goalie change for the Trojans to start the third quarter, the Sun Devils held USC to just four goals over the final 16 minutes, but could only get three on the board in that span. Baksa's final two goals of the game managed to cut the deficit to three after making it an 11-14 game with six minutes remaining, but neither side could get it going in the final six minutes of the frame until a last second goal from USC with just :15 on the clock to close out the game and hand ASU a 15-11 loss.