TEMPE, Ariz. – The No. 5 Arizona State University water polo team wrapped up the ASU Cross Conference Challenge with a 12-5 victory over No. 16 UCSD Sunday afternoon at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.
With the victory, ASU moved to 3-1 at the Challenge and 6-1 overall on the season. All six of the victories for the Sun Devils this year have come over teams that were ranked in the CWPA Top-25 at the time. The 12 goals scored by the Sun Devils were the most UCSD had allowed all season.
"I think one of the things that was really great from the culmination of this tournament was there were so many teams that did a lot of driving." Coach Clapper stated. "It has been something that we have been really focused on and it has really gave us an opportunity to get better at that through the weekend"
Arizona State featured an extremely balanced attack, which has become a theme of the 2018 campaign. Four different Sun Devils put forth multi-goal performances, led by Maud Koopman who recorded her second consecutive hat trick. Mia Rycraw was reliable in net for the Sun Devils, tallying nine saves including making a few crucial saves with the game still in the balance early in the first half.
Kayla Casas would open the scoring for the Sun Devils, scoring a goal within the first minute of the game to provide the Sun Devils a lead, one they would not relinquish. Alkistis Benekou muscled a tough backhand shot through a defender and past the goalkeeper, continuing her strong start to the season.
Later in the period, Rosie Huck earned position in front of the net and cashed in on a great feed from Maud Koopman to make it a 3-1 ASU lead. Mia Rycraw would make a spectacular save right at the end of the period to maintain the momentum for the Sun Devils.
The ASU offense would take control of the game in the second quarter. After her hat trick in yesterday's contest against LMU, Koopman picked up where she left off, scoring a pair of goals in the quarter. Not to be outdone, fellow Netherlands native Bente Rogge added two goals of her own in the period, one of which was set up by Koopman. Lena Mihailovic would score before the half would expire to give ASU the 8-1 halftime lead.
It would be much of the same in the third period for the Sun Devils, as they continued to apply pressure on both sides of the ball to the Tritons. Despite possessing a comfortable lead, ASU came out of the halftime break aggressive. Alkistis Benekou would finish off a pass from P.J. Allin to open the scoring in the half for ASU. Shortly after, Maud Koopman would continue her unselfish performance, feeding Lena Mihailovic who would add her second goal of the game. Later in the period, Julia Reyes would display an impressive long-range shot, firing a rocket past the goalie to give ASU a 11-2 lead.
Goalie Belen Ehinger would relieve Mia Rycraw at the start of the fourth quarter with the Sun Devils comfortably leading 11-3 after the third period. She would go on to record two saves in the period. Maud Koopman would help the Sun Devils finish strong, tallying her third goal of the game to make the score 12-5. The score would stay that way, with UCSD going scoreless over the final 4:39 of the contest.
"Really pleased with how when we got a loss that was emotional we then came back and played great defense in the next two games and with a lot of intensity Coach Clapper remarked. "I am really happy with them, really proud of their bounce back. Over the whole tournament, we really got a chance to work on our individual defense and improved a lot."
Up next, the Sun travel to San Diego for the UCSD Triton Invitational taking place Feb. 10th-11. The tournament will be determined by rank and will be scheduled accordingly. We will have details on the schedule once they are released. Follow our Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates and visit our website for more information.
Goals: Koopman (3), Rogge (2), Mihailovic (2), Benekou (2), Huck, Casas, Reyes
Assists: Mihailovic (2), Rogge
Steals: Koopman (2), Beaudet, Mihailovic, Huck, Reyes, Rycraw
Saves: Rycraw (8), Ehinger (2)