Looking to match their hot start to last season, the ASU water polo team accomplished exaclty that over the weekend at the UCSB Winter Invite in California.
The team walked away unscathed from the tournament with six wins under their belt to start the 2013 campaign.
Senior Alicia Brightwell picked-up from where she left off last season, tallying 17 goals through the first four games of the season. Brightwell was held scoreless against No. 6 UC Irvine on Sunday before sitting out the team’s final game against Concordia on Sunday afternoon.
The Sun Devil’s biggest factor over the weekend was redshirt freshman E.B. Keeve, who was getting her first playing starts ever in goal for ASU during the tournament. Keeve kept opposing offenses in check for the tournament, never letting in more than seven goals in one game. The freshman found good rhythm on the final day, holding No. 6 UC Irvine to four goals and Concordia to five, her lowest day-total over the weekend.
ASU got the tournament started Friday morning, when they squared-off against Cal-Baptist. The Sun Devils jumped out to a 11-1 lead through the first two frames. The Lancers scored five times in the final quarter to cut the dominating Sun Devil lead but still fell to ASU 14-7.
Later that night, the Sun Devils got back in the pool to finish off the first day against LMU. Through two periods, ASU was able to hold a three-goal lead over the Lions. ASU went on an offensive tear in the third quarter, scoring five goals in the frame to build a comfortable lead over LMU. Held scoreless in the fourth quarter, the Sun Devils were still able to defeat the Lions 11-7 to begin their season.
Saturday was another fortunate day for ASU and the team rolled through CSU Northridge to begin the day. The Sun Devils handled the Matadors through all four periods en route to their 12-6 win.
The second game of the day was not the norm that the Sun Devils experienced in their first two games. Going up against host-UCSB, ASU only held a two goal lead heading into the final period before in the final period helped push the Sun Devils past the Gauchos 10-7.
On the final day of games, the Sun Devils went up against the UC Irvine Anteaters in a Sunday morning showdown. Even though ASU jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the first period, UCI didn’t go away. The Anteaters scored two goals in the fourth quarter to cut the Sun Devil lead to one, but ASU was able to hold on for a thrilling 5-4 victory.
The final game of the tournament allowed ASU to rest most of their starters as they went up against the Concordia Eagles. Much like their first games of the tournament, the Sun Devils handled the Eagles from start to finish to win 15-5 and wrap up their tournament play with a 6-0 record.
The water polo team gets next weekend off as they prepare of the UCSD Triton Invitational.