The ASU water polo team hosted its final two games of the regular season Saturday at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center against Hawaii and Cal Baptist.
The No. 5 Sun Devils (23-5, 4-3 MPSF) defeated the No. 16 Rainbow Wahine (7-11, 0-6 MPSF) 11–6 and the No. 17 Lancers (20-9) 12–4.
ASU senior Annabelle Carter put ASU on the scoreboard in the first quarter and led the team with a total of four goals against Hawaii. Senior Alicia Brightwell added a goal of her own in the first, but Hawaii made sure to keep up.
The second period was stagnant for both teams until freshman Ao Gao broke the silence with her first goal of the game. Freshman Petra Pardi tacked on another as the Sun Devils took a 5–3 lead into halftime.
The last two periods were littered with ASU goals. Carter tacked on her third and fourth, while senior Mariam Salloum, freshman Anna Kertes, Gao and Brightwell netted goals of their own, securing the 11–6 victory over Hawaii on senior day.
Salloum and Carter agreed the team made senior day special for them and senior Kelsey White.
“It was good to go out with a win and with our best friends around us,” Carter said. “(It) was awesome.”
The game against Cal Baptist started with three goals by three Sun Devils — Brightwell, Gao and junior Shannon Haas — but the Lancers tied it up at the end of the first quarter.
Cal Baptist was scoreless in the second quarter while Brightwell found the back of the net twice and Kertes found it once for ASU.
In the third quarter, the Lancers managed one goal, but it was no match for the Sun Devils.
Haas, Carter, Brightwell, Gao, Salloum and Kertes collectively added six goals to gain a 12–4 win over Cal Baptist.
Coach Todd Clapper emphasized that the difference in the games was the players stepping up in crucial moments.
“There were some really good individual efforts, so that was the main thing,” Clapper said.
Even though the Sun Devils took away two wins on senior day, they are focusing on what they need to do to improve for the MPSF Championships in a few weeks.
“After this weekend, it’s important for us to do really well on our basics and focus on our defense, as always,” Salloum said.
Carter echoed her teammate’s sentiment.
“A few final touches on everything and we’ll be ready to go,” she said.
Clapper said it’s been a great journey and the team is looking forward to conference championships.
“Overall, I think we’re where we need to be,” Clapper said. “We’ve just got to put it all together in the next two weeks and go give it a shot — go play our best polo.”
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