After a weather delay and a tough match, the ASU water polo team lost its first home game of the season to No. 1 USC, 15-6.
USC came out scoring early and did not let up throughout the rest of the game.
The Sun Devils were disappointed with the way the game turned out and had studied film of the Trojans in practice the week prior to the game, coach Todd Clapper said.
Prior to the game, the team broke down many aspects of the USC team and knew how it would perform in certain situations.
Unfortunately, ASU did not use its knowledge of the USC team as well as it could have in the game.
“We didn’t have the reaction coming out like we had planned,” Clapper said. “They scored their goals from where we knew they were going to score goals.”
He said the team is upset with the loss, but needs to focus on finding answers as to what went wrong in preparation for their next game.
Clapper said he hopes the team can learn from what happened in this game and make the necessary adjustments for the future.
Ao Gao, a junior 2-meter defender, managed to score three goals against the tough USC goalie, senior Flora Bolonyai.
Gao said the lack of communication on defense was the downfall for the Sun Devils, but since it was only the first home game, there is time for improvement.
“We have more games throughout the season and if we figure out the communication issue, we’re going to do better,” Gao said.
She said she believes everything happens for a reason and the team will be able to grow and learn from this game.
“Losing sucks but it doesn’t stop us from being able to go further,” Gao said.
Sophomore utility Katie Sverchek, junior attacker Petra Pardi and junior utility Liz Kreek also all scored one goal each.
Redshirt sophomore goalie E.B. Keeve, who recently broke a school record for saves at the UC Irvine tournament, said the team lost trust in its training today.
“We were just so excited for the game that we kind of forgot our job on defense,” Keeve said. “It was too hectic and people were too worried about winning the game more so than doing the right things to win it.”
Looking forward, Keeve said she hopes the team can focus on its defense and trusting themselves.
She said the team knew what needed to be done but lost trust somewhere along the way.
“We need to strengthen the bond between all of us and know that all of us are going to be responsible for our duties so that we can be the best that we can be,” Keeve said.
The Sun Devils’ next game is against UCLA. After the UC Irvine tournament, the Bruins climbed to the No. 2 spot, just behind USC.
The game begins at 2 p.m. on March 9 in Los Angeles.
Reach the reporter at Megan.Kavy@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @meggiekavy