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Olympic Sports Roundup: Water Polo drops four games at opening tournament

Water polo lost all four games in its opening tournament, while gymnastics narrowly lost to No. 2 Utah in the team's second meet of the season

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ASU water polo then-senior Bente Rogge (12) reaches up to catch the ball against Cal at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center on Friday, April 30, 2021.


Over the last week, ASU water polo dropped four games in its opening tournament, gymnastics lost another close matchup to Utah, women's tennis swept three opponents at home, swim and dive fell to Cal and Stanford, and men's tennis fell to Texas A&M, while track and field secured five individual program records. 

Water Polo

ASU women’s water polo felt eight months of rust this weekend after the team lost all four of its games: No. 10 Fresno State, 11-8, No. 7 UCI, 11-10, No. 5 Cal, 17-7, and No. 8 Michigan, 10-8, all beat ASU at the ASU Cross Conference challenge at the Mona Plummer Aquatic center.

The Sun Devils came into their opening home tournament ranked fourth in the nation after losing in last season’s Final Four against USC on May 15.

"There are some really good things we're seeing and some really good opportunities," head coach Todd Clapper said. "I think these games are really starting to get us to play a little bit better together, and we're hoping for that to continue."

While ASU looked lethargic against Fresno State and Cal, the Sun Devils were left heartbroken on Sunday against Michigan. After leading the team, ASU couldn’t finish the job after the Wolverines tied it up with a goal from Maddy Steere with 38 seconds left. Michigan would seal the deal after netting two goals by Sammi Monroe and Maddie O’Reilly in overtime.

The team's game against UCI also came down to the wire. UCI’s Kennedy East scored the game-winner with 1:38 left in the fourth period.

Despite the losing weekend, the Sun Devil newcomers announced their presence with stellar performances. Freshman Vanda Baksa stood out with nine goals and seven assists over the four-game weekend. Freshman Stevi Griffin had three goals, and freshman Bianca Becerra had one goal as well.

The Sun Devils will have the week to assess their first tournament before they host Loyola Marymount next Saturday and Sunday.

Gymnastics

The No. 13 ASU gymnastics team lost yet another hard-fought battle to the No. 2 Utah 196.100 to 197.400 on Friday night. 

The Sun Devils kept it tight with the Utes through the first three rotations as they made the reigning Pac-12 champions sweat for a victory. The meet did not come without its individual accomplishments for the Sun Devils as junior Hannah Scharf was able to earn her first all-around title of the year with a score of 39.500. Junior Jordyn Jaslaw was also able to break a personal record after she scored a career-high on floor with 9.850. 

As a team, the Sun Devils scored 49.225 on bars, 49.175 on vault, 49.075 on floor and 48.625 on beam. 

ASU will face off against Washington on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. MST as the team kicks off its home campaign and looks to secure its first win of the season.   

Women’s Tennis

ASU women’s tennis had a successful week, sweeping all three opponents the team faced: NAU, Colorado State and New Mexico State.

On Monday, ASU swept NAU 7-0 at the Whiteman Tennis Center in its season opener. The Sun Devils have now won six consecutive opening matches. 

The pairing of sophomore Giulia Morlet and senior Sedona Gallagher swept Elinor Beazley and Sofia Markova, 6-0. Sophomore Marianna Argyrokastriti and senior Cali Jankowski defeated Ava Neyestani and Annabel Davis, 6-4 to close out the doubles matches. 

The Sun Devils swept all six of their singles matches to defeat the Lumberjacks, 7-0. 

In the Saturday doubleheader against New Mexico State and Colorado State, the Sun Devils swept both teams, 4-0.

ASU took best two out of three in the doubles matchups against Colorado State and in the singles matches, senior Domenika Turkovic defeated Radka Buzkova, 6-0, 6-3. Freshman Patricija Spaka defeated Tracy Guo, 6-2 in straight sets. To round out the first matchup, Jankowski defeated Anastasiia Kotsyuba, 6-2, 6-4. 

Against NMSU, ASU took the win in the doubles matches thanks to a win from Morlet and Argyrokastriti, 6-2 and Gallagher and Jankowski, 6-3. 

ASU went on to win three singles matches, securing the win over NMSU, 4-0. ASU will travel to Lake Nona, Florida, next to take on Auburn and either UCF or UCSB on Jan. 28 and 29. 

Men’s tennis

The ASU men’s tennis team (1-2) lost on Wednesday afternoon to the No. 19 Texas A&M Aggies (1-0) 5-2 at the Whiteman Tennis Center.

Despite the team's loss, the story of the day for the Sun Devils was the pair of singles upsets against the Aggies. Senior co-captain Fabien Salle upset No. 74 sophomore Raphael Perot in straight sets.

"It was the first time I was playing for a long time in a match, so it was good, but overall we lost the match,” Salle said. “I’m happy with the result, but disappointed for the team in general.” 

Freshman Murphy Cassone complimented Salle’s victory by defeating No.115 junior Noah Schachter 6-2, 6-3, after being down one set in what was arguably the best match of the day. 

"I thought some guys looked good today, especially Murphy and Fabien at (Courts) one and two," head coach Matt Hill said.

Besides that, the rest of the team didn’t play as well. Sophomore co-captain Max Mckennon was defeated in straight sets by junior Matthis Ross from the Aggies. Freshman Nicola Cigna and junior Jacob Bullard both went down in straight sets, and junior George Stoupe lost a tough battle in three sets after being up one set.

“We were just not disciplined enough with our play today,” Hill said. “We have to have a plan and stay in that plan longer and better, and definitely in the critical moments. We’re getting away from that plan, and that’ll kill you against a team like this.”

Swim and Dive

The ASU swim and dive team went winless this weekend, falling to both Stanford on Friday afternoon and California on Saturday afternoon.  

Against Stanford, it was redshirt senior Erica Laning, who had a standout performance as she took first place in the women's 200-meter freestyle race with a time of 1:47.58. On the men's side, redshirt senior Grant House was outstanding with wins in both the 200-meter freestyle and the 400-meter freestyle relay. 

The following day against California, freshman Léon Marchand continued his fantastic rookie campaign as he won the 200-meter breaststroke and the 400 IM. For the second day in a row, Laning added her name to the stat sheet, winning the 1,000-meter freestyle, which was the only victory for the women.

The Sun Devils look to redeem themselves on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 12 p.m. MST against their in-state rival UA. 

Track and field 

The University of New Mexico hosted the MLK Collegiate Invitational on Saturday, which saw ASU track and field come out with a bang in the team's first full meet of the 2022 indoor season, as the Sun Devils took home nine event wins along with five entries into the all-time top 10 records.

Sophomore sprinter Jamar Marshall Jr. claimed his first gold of the season in the 60-meter hurdles with his time of 7.72 seconds, which is currently the sixth-fastest time in the NCAA. Marshall already owns the program's fourth-best 60-meter hurdle time with a time of 7.59 seconds.

Redshirt junior sprinter Alonna Johnson beat her PR in the 600-meter sprint by nearly four seconds. Her time of 1:33.45 ranks third-best in ASU history and also earned her the win. Freshman Adriana Tatum won herself a gold in the 200-meter sprint, and along with Johnson, helped the women’s 4x4 relay team finish first with a time of 3:52.51.

Sophomore sprinter Justin Robinson finally made his collegiate debut, after running the 400-meters in 44.91 seconds in his only race in 2020, which was the fastest time in the world that year. Robinson did not disappoint, securing first in the 200-meter and finishing with a time of 20.81 seconds, second-best in program history. Robinson and Marshall Jr. contributed to the men’s 4x4 relay team’s gold with a time of 3:15.16. 

Junior Jalen Drayden hadn’t competed in nearly two seasons, but saw himself take home the silver in the 200-meter, finishing just .17 seconds behind Robinson. Drayden’s time of 20.98 seconds placed him fifth all-time in program history. 

Junior pole vaulter Kristen Masucci and graduate student vaulter Michael Chadwick both came away with golds. Masucci obliterated her previous PR with a 3.98 meter throw, while Chadwick was just eight inches shy of his PR but still earned first in the event.

Sophomore jumper Dylan James earned first place in the triple jump with 15.47 meters, good for ninth all-time in ASU history. In his first time dawning the maroon and gold, fellow sophomore Jeremy Cody recorded his PR of 2.15 meters in the high jump, which landed him tied for sixth all-time in the record books.

ASU will compete in two separate competitions next weekend with some athletes going to the two-day Washington Invitational in Seattle on Jan. 28 and 29, while some will be returning to Albuquerque for the UNM Team Open on Jan. 29.


Reach the reporters at jspange1@asu.edu, vdeange1@asu.edu, rmastey@asu.edu, whsmith8@asu.edu and lhertz@asu.edu and follow @Jspangenthal94, @vdeangelis2024, @MasteyRemy, @WalkerrTR and @laurenrachell_ on Twitter.

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Justin SpangenthalSports Reporter

Justin Spangenthal is a reporter for The State Press, currently covering Men's Golf and Track and Field. Justin transferred to ASU last January and is planning to graduate Fall '23. He is passionate about journalism and hopes to one day launch his own media outlet.


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