For the third time this season, the ASU water polo team lost to the Stanford Cardinal.
The No. 8 Sun Devils (8-9, 0-4 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) have now been outscored by the No. 1 Cardinal 39-11 this year.
This was the first time the Sun Devils played the Cardinal at home this season, but the location did not seem to matter as Stanford controlled the game from the very beginning.
“I was disappointed in how we came out,” ASU coach Todd Clapper said. “I felt like we didn’t do a very good job of executing at the beginning of the game.”
Stanford (16-0, 2-0 MPSF) got off to a fast start as they scored three early goals and took a 7-1 lead into halftime. The Cardinal were strong on defense as well as ASU did not score until late in the second quarter when junior Mariam Salloum gave the Sun Devils their first point.
“When you’re down like that it is hard to settle down and get back into the flow of the game,” Clapper said. “Especially when you are playing a top team.”
Salloum scored again in the third, but five straight Stanford goals pushed the score to 12-2.
Sophomore Shannon Haas scored ASU’s third and final goal late in the fourth quarter.
ASU had already lost to Stanford at both the Stanford and UC Irvine Invitationals, so the Sun Devils knew it was not going to be an easy game, but they did expect better results from themselves.
“I don’t think we played up to our expectation as both players and coaches,” Clapper said.
Part of the reason Saturday’s result is so troubling is that the Sun Devils had a good week of practice leading up to the game Clapper said.
“The team is working hard and working hard to improve, but we came out flat,” Clapper said.
Unfortunately for Sun Devil fans, going flat for a period of time has become a trend that has plagued ASU throughout the season.
While the slow start against Stanford was disappointing, it was not an isolated incident. ASU has had several similar moments, but has also been fortunate enough to have been able to rebound from them in the past.
Mental lapses and slow starts are two things that ASU will try to improve upon as they face another familiar foe next weekend.
The Sun Devils will return to the pool Saturday against San Jose State, a team they have already beat twice this season.
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