TEMPE – The Arizona State University water polo program matched a program-best as the team had four players honored as 2014 All-Americans, the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches has announced.
Junior Ao Gao earned her second consecutive Second-Team All-America selection while redshirt sophomore E.B. Keeve earned her first career Third-Team Selection. Freshman Alkistis Benekou and junior Petra Pardi each made their debut on the All-America team, earning Honorable Mention honors.
On the season, Gao finished with 40 goals and team-leading 35 assists for a grand total of 75 points, good for third on the team and just behind Pardi’s 80 points and Izabella Chiappini’s 77 points.
Gao finished the MPSF tournament with seven goals, including a career-high four goal effort against No. 3 USC in the opening round of the tournament as she helped her team to a 10-9 sudden victory decision for the just the second win over the Trojans in ASU history as she earned MPSF All-Tournament team honors for the second straight season while also being named to the All-MPSF squad.
Keeve logged 320 saves on the season while leading the country and breaking her own school record by averaging 12.80 saves per game on the year. An honorable mention selection last year, Keeve took things to another level in 2014 as she singe-handledly willed her team to victories in several games while also setting an NCAA Tournament record with her 20 saves against Indiana at the NCAA Championships as she helped the team to a fifth-place finish.
Keeve came up clutch in several important games on the season, including a school-record setting 23-save performance against then-No. 5 UC Irvine earlier this season and a 17-save effort in ASU’s huge sudden victory upset over No. 3 USC at the MPSF Championships.
Still with two years of eligibility remaining, Keeve was recently named to the U.S. Water Polo Senior National Team and helped the team to a runner-up finish at the FINA Intercontinental Tournament earlier this summer while the Americans would go on to win the FINA World League Super Final with Keeve on the roster.
Benekou led the Sun Devils in scoring this season as a true freshman replacing two-time All-American Shannon Haas at the center position. The Greek native had 56 goals on the season, ranking second in ASU freshman history behind only Rowie Webster’s school record of 63 as a freshman in 2006.
Averaging 2.00 goals per game on the season, Benekou finished the year in the top 10 in the MPSF in scoring.
Pardi had her best all-around season for the Sun Devils as one of the team’s most experienced players. The junior out of Hungary scored a career-high 45 goals on the season while also adding a career-best 35 assists to lead the team with 80 total points. Pardi now has 120 goals in her career as a Sun Devil, currently ranking her eighth in program history.
It was the second consecutive season the Sun Devils posted four student-athletes on the All-American team and the program has had three or more All-American selections in each of the past four seasons – a feat the team accomplished just once in 10 previous seasons.
Arizona State Water Polo All-Americans
2014 • Ao Gao (2nd), E.B. Keeve (3rd), Alkistis Benekou (HM), Petra Pardi (HM)
2007 • Addison McGrath (HM)
2006 • Rowie Webster (3rd)
2004 • Katie Davis (HM)
All-Time All-American Roster
Benekou, Alkistis • 2014 (HM)
Brightwell, Alicia • 2012 (1st), 2013 (2nd)
Davis, Katie • 2004 (HM)
Gao, Ao • 2013 (2nd), 2014 (2nd)
Haas, Shannon • 2012 (3rd), 2013 (3rd)
Harris, Sarah • 2010 (HM), 2011 (HM)
Keeve, E.B. • 2013 (HM), 2014 (3rd)
McGrath, Addison • 2007 (HM), 2008 (1st), 2009 (2nd)
Pardi, Petra • 2014 (HM)
Phelps, Kelly • 2008 (HM)
Salloum, Mariam • 2011 (HM), 2012 (HM)
Smith, Lynlee • 2009 (HM), 2010 (HM), 2011 (HM)
Wallace, Caylinn • 2008 (HM)
Webster, Rowie • 2006 (3rd)
All-Time All-America Teams
Honorable Mention Selections
Benekou, Alkistis • 2014
Davis, Katie • 2004
Harris, Sarah • 2010, 2011
Keeve, E.B. • 2013
McGrath, Addison • 2007
Pardi, Petra • 2014
Phelps, Kelly • 2008
Salloum, Mariam • 2011, 2012
Smith, Lynlee • 2009, 2010, 2011
Wallace, Caylinn • 2008