IRVINE, Calif. – The No. 7 Arizona State University water polo team upset No. 5 UC Irvine, 9-8, in sudden death overtime to finish in fifth place at the prestigious UCI Invitational on Sunday in Irvine, Calif.
The Sun Devils took down UC San Diego in the early game, 10-4, a month removed from falling to the Tritons in a tough 12-11 decision.
The UCI Invite featured nine of the top 10 teams in the country and 14 ranked teams in the 16-team field, making it technically a more competitive tournament than even the NCAA Championship tourney that caps the season.
The Sun Devils improved the 9-4 on the season with the victories and, barring any surprises, will move up a relatively considerate amount in the weekly rankings – an important distinction in the first year of the NCAA Tournament being played with two tournament positions.
ASU will return to action with its home opener in two weeks as the squad squares off with No. 1 USC in Tempe, Ariz., on March 1.
Complete recaps of Sunday’s games can be found below.
ASU 9, UCI 8
Freshman Izabella Chiappini found the back of the net on a lob outside of four meters with four seconds left in sudden death overtime to upset No. UC Irvine to finish in fifth at the UCI Invitational on Sunday.
Petra Pardi had three goals in the game to lead the Sun Devils but Chiappini’s second and final goal of the game gave ASU the dramatic victory. Chiappini’s other goal came in the first overtime session and was important as it ended up being the equalizing goal after UCI scored later in the period.
E.B. Keeve had the game of her life, setting a school record with 23 saves in the game to break Caylinn Wallace’s nine-year school record off 22. Six of those saves came in the overtime session and three of those came in the sudden victory session.
UCI took a late 7-6 lead with just under three minutes left before sophomore Kate Enoka was able to even the game at eight her second goal of the game with 1:34 left in the game to force the overtime session.
Ao Gao and Alkistis Benekou eached scored in the game as well while Gao added three assists to her tally as well.
ASU- Pardi 3, Chiappini 2, Enoka 2, Benekou, Gao
UCSD- Warde 4, Mitchell 2, Albers, Carden
ASU- Keeve 23
SDSU- Yosum 8
ASU 10, UCSD 4
Izabella Chiappini had three goals as the Sun Devils demolished the No. 13 UCSD Tritons, 10-4, just about a month removed from a tough 12-11 loss at the season opening UCSB Winter Invite.
Alkistis Benekou, Petra Pardi and Ao Gao all added two goals each while Kate Enoka tacked on the final goal of the contest.
E.B. Keeve posted 10 saves – her third game in as many games on the weekend with double digits in saves – in a dominating effort in the cage.
ASU took advantage early and never looked back, scoring the first six goals of the game for a dominating 6-0 lead and not allowing a Triton goal until the third period of the game.
The difference in the game came on the penalty kill as ASU was down a player on five different occasion and didn’t allow a exclusion goal the whole game.
ASU- Chiappini 3, Benekou 2, Pardi 2, Gao 2, Enoka
UCSD- Carballo 2, Schneider 2
ASU- Keeve 10
SDSU- Tyllea 9