LA JOLLA, Calif. – The No. 5 Arizona State University water polo team took fourth overall at the 2016 Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif.
The Sun Devils dropped a defensive battle in a 6-3 decision to No. 2 USC in the semifinal to open the day before falling in the consolation final on a buzzer beater to No. 7 UC Davis to wrap up the event.
The Sun Devils will have a week of before returning to action at the UCI Invite in Irvine, Calif., beginning Feb. 27.
#7 UC Davis 10, #5 ASU 9
The Sun Devils came just shy in a shootout against seventh-ranked UC Davis in the consolation final of the Triton Invitational, finishing fourth overall.
Daisy Carter and Ao Gao eached scored three goals but the effort was not enough as the Sun Devils gave up the most goals they’ve allowed this season.
Leading 8-7 in the final frame of the game, ASU was outscore 3-1 over the final eight minutes, giving up a goal with one second left on the clock to UCD’s Bryn Lutz to break a 9-9 tie.
The Sun Devils, who had performed so well defensively thus far this season, struggled to get saves and struggled to get anything going on offense after roaring out of the second half gates with four straight goals to take a 8-5 lead before scoring just once more over the final 11 minutes of regulation.
Maud Koopman had two goals for the Sun Devils as well while Lena Mihailovic added another.
#2 USC 6, #5 ASU 3
For the first time this season, a team held the second-ranked USC Trojans under 10 goals. Unfortunately, the Arizona State water polo program only managed three of their own in a hard-fought 6-3 loss to the Trojans in the semifinals of the Triton Invitational.
USC had averaged an unreal 20 goals per game this season before facing the Sun Devils and were held 14 below that average behind the gutsy effort of ASU cageminder Mia Rycraw.
The sophomore goalie stopped 12 shots and had a gaudy six steals in the game to limit the potent Trojan offense but the effort was just not enough as the Sun Devils could not solve USC’s defense.
ASU scored just one goal in the first half, coming off the arm of Lena Mihailovic as the Devils fell into an early 6-1 hole at the halftime break.
The halftime defensive corrections clearly paid their dues as ASU held the Trojans scoreless in the second half but the early hole was unable to be overcome, despite second half goals from Taylor Bertrand and Abbey Kerth.