SAN DIEGO – The No. 10 Arizona State University water polo team rebounded has quickly put its two-game losing streak behind them, winning both games on the opening day of the UCSD Triton Invitational in San Diego on Saturday.
ASU defeated No. 19 Hartwick, 13-4, in the opening before routing No. 20 Santa Clara, 19-4, to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
The performance sets the Sun Devils up for a matchup against perennial powerhouse and MPSF rival USC, who entered the weekend ranked as the No. 1 team in the country. The game will get underway at 11:10 a.m. PT.
Complete recaps of each game can be found below.
ASU 19, No. 20 Santa Clara 4
Arizona State again got off to a hot start and put the game away early as the Sun Devils climbed to a 7-0 lead en route to a 19-4 victory over No. 20 Santa Clara.
Petra Pardi had five goals in the contest while Alkistis Benekou continued her amazing scoring tear with four goals while 10 of the 12 Sun Devils who played found the back of the net at least once.
Sophomore E.B. Keeve was phenomenal guarding the net, logging 14 saves to just four goals against.
For Pardi, it was her highest goal tally of the season as she had a hat trick before halftime while Benekou added a goal in each quarter, including on of ASU’s seven different players who scored a goal in the fourth quarter.
Izabella Chiappini and Kate Enoka each had two goals while Abbey Kerth, Ao Gao, Stephanie Contreras, Liz Kreek, Annie Kertes and Daisy Carter each logged a goal.
ASU – 5-4-3-7=19
Santa Clara – 0-2-0-2=4
Pardi 5, Benekou 4. Chiappini 2, Enoka 2, Kerth, Gao, Contreras, Kreek, Kertes, Carter
ASU 13, Hartwick 4
SAN DIEGO – Freshmen Alkistis Benekou and Izabella Chiappini combined for nine goals as the No. 10 Arizona State University water polo team took care of business in the opener of the UCSD Triton Invitational again No. 19 Hartwick, winning 13-4 on Saturday in San Diego.
If there were doubts as to who would pick up the scoring following the loss of two of the top-three scorers in program history to graduation last season, the two freshmen are quickly showing there won’t be much dropoff.
Benekou finished the contest with five goals while Chiappini added a career-high four goals as the Sun Devils jumped to a 7-1 lead in the first quarter of the contest and never looked back.
Six Sun Devils got on the board in the first, with Chiappini notching two and Benekou, Annie Kertes, Liz Kreek, Petra Pardi an Ao Gao each adding a goal as ASU poured it on early and often
Chiappini got ASU on the board first before Hartwick notted things up at one on a Katie Ermakova goal with 5:35 left in the first. That would be the last goal for the Hawks until the 5:15 mark of the third quarter as the Sun Devils ripped off 10 straight goals to take a commanding 11-1 lead.
Redshirt sophomore E.B. Keeve was solid in the cage, picking up eight saves to just four goals allowed while the ASU defensive added eight steals to help her out.
Benekou had three goals in the second quarter alone and now has 18 goals this season in just five games while Chiappini has 15 as the duo is leads the team in the category by a relatively significant margin. With Saturday’s performance, Benekou now has three or more goals in five of the team’s six games this season while Chiappini has done so in three.
Benekou now has two games of six or more goals in her first six games, joining Addision McGrath and Alicia Brightwell as the only two players in ASU career history to accomplish the feat twice.
The Sun Devils will now take on No. 20 Santa Clara this afternoon at 5:20 p.m. PT for a chance to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
ASU - 7-4-2-0=13
Hartwick - 1-0-3-0=4
ASU: Benekou 5, Chiappini 4, Gao, Pardi, Kreek, Kertes
Hartwick: Ermakova 2, Capparelli, Dendy Young