IRVINE, Calif. -- The No. 7 Arizona State University water polo team split a pair of games on Saturday to open the UCI Invitational in Irvine, Calif.
The Sun Devils took care of business against No. 11 San Jose State, 15-10, before coming just short in a hard-fought game against No. 2 Stanford in an 11-10 decision.
E.B. Keeve had double digit saves in both contests while Alkistis Benekou continued her exceptional scoring tear in her first season as a Sun Devil, logging seven goals on the day.
The Sun Devils will now take on No. 13 UC San Diego in the consolation bracket of the tournament tomorrow at 9:15 a.m. PT. The Sun Devils dropped a 12-11 heartbreaker to the Tritons at the UCSB Winter Invite to open the season. The winner of the contest will advance to compete for fifth place in the tournament, which features nine of the top 10 teams in the nation and 14 ranked teams in total.
Complete recaps of today's game can be found below.
Stanford 11, ASU 10
IRVINE, Calif. – The No. 7 Arizona State University water polo team gave No. 2 Stanford all it could handle on Saturday in a tough 11-10 loss to cap off the first day of action at the UCI Invitational in Irvine, Calif.
Annie Kertes had three goals in the contest but the Sun Devil effort fell just short after a frantic rally at the end to bring the game within one goal in the waning seconds.
The Sun Devils played the Cardinal tough through the first half, trailing just 5-4 heading into the break but the Stanford offense came alive in the third period as ASU was outscored 4-1 in the frame to trail 9-5 heading into the fourth quarter.
ASU did not go quietly into the night, however, outscoring Stanford 5-2 in the final frame behind Kertes’ late goal-scoring rally.
Kertes logged all three of her goals in the final frame along with Daisy Carter and Kate Enoka, but the rally came up just shy despite two last-minute goals to bring the game within a goal.
Goalkeeper E.B. Keeve had yet another solid game, posting double digits in saves with 10 but really stepped up in the fourth quarter to pave the way for the Sun Devil rally, logging five saves in the quarter.
Alkistis Benekou and Ao Gao each had two goals for the Sun Devils while Liz Kreek added the team’s other goal. Enoka not only had a goal late in the fourth quarter, but also posted a career-high three assists to lead the Sun Devils.
ASU - 2-2-1-5=10
STAN - 2-3-4-2=11
ASU - Kertes 3, Gao 2, Benekou 2, Kreek, Enoka, Carter
STAN - Dodson 4, Neushul 2, Grossman 2, Steffens, Yelizarova, Dries
ASU - Keeve 11
STAN - Dorst 7
ASU 15, SJSU 10
IRVINE, Calif. – The exceptional Sun Devil freshman duo of Alkistis Benekou and Izabella Chiappini continued their amazing early-season tear and the No. 7 Arizona State University water polo team opened the 2014 UCI Invitational with a 15-10 victory over No. 11 San Jose State on Saturday in Irvine, Calif.
Benekou and Chiappini scored five goals each as the Sun Devils jumped out to a 9-3 lead at the halftime break and never looked back. The team eclipsed 15 goals for the fourth time this season and has now scored in double digits on eight different occasions.
Chiappini opened the game with a goal just 22 seconds into the first quarter, her first of two goals in the first three minutes of the game. Benekou added her first goal in that span as well as ASU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and the game never got closer than two goals.
The Spartans climbed within 5-3 on a goal by Timi Molnar with 6:22 left in the second quarter but the Sun Devils score four straight goals to end the half and take a 9-3 lead with them into the break.
SJSU outscored ASU 7-5 in the second half, but the Sun Devils answered the Spartans goal for goal down the stretch to never let their opponent within five goals.
E.B. Keeve had 12 saves for the Sun Devils, including a five-meter penalty shot block. Ao Gao also had two goals for the Sun Devils while Annie Kertes, Liz Kreek and Petra Pardi each found the back of the net in the game.
Chiappini added three assists in the game for a career high eight points while Benekou brought her Sun Devil leading goal tally to 34 goals and had her third game of five or more goals this season. That number is notable as she is already tied for fourth on ASU’s career list for games with five or more goals despite the fact she is just 10 games into her Sun Devil career.
The Sun Devils will now take on No. 2 Stanford at 2:15 p.m. PT at the Corona Del Mar Pool for a chance to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
ASU - 5-4-3-3=15
SJSU - 2-1-4-3=10
ASU - Benekou 5, Chiappini 5, Gao 2, Kertes, Kreek, Pardi
SJSU - Molnar 3, Liaguet 3, Smith 2, Lekness, Seufert
ASU - Keeve 12
SJSU - Reardon 1