This week, track and field took home two NCAA titles, water polo swept its competition, beach volleyball took on ranked opponents, lacrosse opened up pac-12 play, while gymnastics closed out its regular season.
ASU beach volleyball went 2-2 at the Cal Poly Tournament this week. ASU beat San Jose State 5-0 and Washington 4-1 but lost to No. 6 Loyola Marymount and Cal Poly 0-5.
Saturday was a rough day for the ASU squad, as none of the pairs could put up a win against either of their opponents. However, three of the five courts took it to three sets in the match against Cal Poly.
ASU now sits at 7-5. Next up for the Sand Devils is a trip to Texas for a tournament hosted by TCU next weekend.
ASU water polo had a record-setting weekend in its final home tournament on Friday and Saturday. The Sun Devils swept the ASU Invitational II, beating Azusa Pacific 12-6, No. 22 Harvard 14-13 and No. 25 Marist 17-3 at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.
Freshman attacker Vanda Baksa took the lead in breaking the records. During the three-game span, she broke the ASU freshman points record on Friday when she scored her 84th point of the season, passing Rowie Webster, who set the record at 82 in 2006.
Baksa also broke the single-game points record on Saturday against Harvard, tallying 10 points on three goals and seven assists. The record was previously held by Lynlee Smith and Alicia Brightwell at nine, which was last done by Brightwell in 2013.
“She’s doing so much for us,” coach Todd Clapper said. “She sees the pool well. She's distributing the ball well, and she's scoring well."
Baksa is showing she is one of the best players in the country. She leads the NCAA in goals, points, and field blocks with 61, 102 and 18, respectively. She is also in the top four in assists and steals. The team has been on fire. After starting slow with a record of 3-6, the Sun Devils have won 10 of the last 12.
Friday’s only game against Azusa Pacific was competitive early with goals from sophomore Luca Petovary and freshman Stevi Griffin to make it 2-2 at the end of the first period. ASU turned it on in the second period with four goals scored by Baksa, Griffin, sophomore Tarah Schaffer and senior Borbala Kekesi to go into the half up 6-4. ASU outscored APU 6-2 in the second half thanks to hat-tricks from Baksa and Kekesi.
Saturday saw the Sun Devils play two different types of games. The first contest against Harvard was a dogfight. ASU led 13-9 entering the fourth but almost gave it away after Harvard scored four to ASU’s one goal in the final period. Hat tricks from Baksa, senior Emma Fraser, and graduate student Amira Van Buren led to a win.
The second game against Marist was a blowout from the start. ASU outscored Marist 8-2 in the first half and 9-1 in the second. Graduate student Emily Bennett and sophomore Alba Olivé Martí had hat tricks and Baksa added four more goals to her total.
"It was a great weekend for us,” Clapper said. “The team played together and for each other. I am proud of how people stepped up this weekend,"
Now at 13-8 and with only conference games left on the schedule, ASU will host No. 4 Cal next Friday to start the final push toward the postseason.
ASU women’s lacrosse opened Pac-12 play with an 11-9 win over Oregon on Friday afternoon.
Eight Sun Devils scored a goal in the game. Graduate midfielders Lia Willis, Taylor Pinzone and Kylie Kroeger scored two goals each. Graduate attacker Emily Glagolev, graduate midfielder Maria Villanti, graduate attacker Emily Munro, senior midfielder Kaylon Buckner and graduate attacker Carley Adams each added one goal.
Freshman goalkeeper Katie Vahle started in her fourth game for the Sun Devils and finished the game with 10 saves.
The Sun Devils and the Ducks went 12-12 on draw controls. The Sun Devils were able to pull ahead in the shots category, outshooting the Ducks 36-22.
ASU faced off against Colorado on Sunday and improved to 2-0 in Pac-12 play with a 20-6 win.
Glagolev and Adams led the Sun Devils in scoring with six and five goals respectively. Graduate midfielder Maddy Hunter and Pinzone added two goals each with freshman attacker Anna Thornton, Kroeger, Willis, Villanti and Munro each adding one goal.
Vahle allowed five goals and made six saves in her fifth consecutive start for the Sun Devils. Sophomore goalkeeper Flynn Murphy subbed in with 10 minutes left in the game and allowed one goal.
The Sun Devils will start their first Pac-12 road trip on Friday against Stanford at 4 p.m. MST.
No. 15 ASU gymnastics team honored its seniors on Friday night while also participating in a tri-meet to close out the regular season.
The Gym Devils finished the meet in second place with an overall score of 196.800 as they fell short to No. 1 Oklahoma, but the team did get a ranked win against No. 23 Boise State.
Despite not finishing the meet in first, the Gym Devils did not fail to put on a show. Junior Hannah Scharf was the most impressive Gym Devil of the day winning her fifth all-around title of the season with a score of 39.525.
Sophomore Jada Mangahas continued her impressive second half to the season putting up a 9.875 on both bars and vault, which extended her streak of not scoring below a 9.825 in the last four meets.
“Tonight has been one of my favorite moments,” Thomson said. “It was one of those meets where you take everything in, you're able to observe it and you're more in it than you ever have been. Tonight was special to me and it allowed me to be appreciative for everything I've been given and everyone that has been such a big support system in my career.”
The Gym Devils might have started the season on a rough note, but they have had a successful year overall. They showed all season their willingness to adapt and resilience to push through when things are not always going well.
“We kept trying to just go back and focus on the details and the gymnastics,” coach Jay Santos said. “There were a couple of different moments where we had to come back together as a group and rethink what made us successful all along. Over the last five to six weeks where they picked up, they gained a lot of confidence and started competing the way they knew they could."
The Gym Devils look to carry their regular season success into the Pac-12 Tournament on March 19 in West Valley City Utah.
Track and Field
ASU Track and Field had themselves a weekend to remember at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships, going three for three on podium finishes Saturday with two titles.
For the second time, ASU has finished with multiple NCAA title winners in the same season, the first coming in 2008 when three Sun Devils took home gold.
The Sun Devils sent three athletes to compete in this weekend’s championships and they will be coming back to Tempe with as many medals.
Sophomore sprinter Jamar Marshall Jr., graduate student Jorinde Van Klinken and redshirt senior Turner Washington all qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships after standout seasons. Each of them also participated in last year’s championships, with Van Klinken earning bronze and Washington claiming gold in their respective shot put events.
Washington continued his streak of college dominance Saturday, winning his second consecutive Indoor Shot Put Championship and his 12th consecutive NCAA event. His winning throw of 21.65-meters came in the third round and marks his season-best, as well as the current collegiate lead.
After winning the Indoor, Outdoor and National Championships last year, Washington is on his way to back-to-back three-peating the NCAA titles and cementing himself as one of the best to ever do it.
After walking away from last year’s competition in third, Van Klinken will take home the gold this year.
Van Klinken showed off how much she has improved her shot put game, beating the runner-up by nearly one and a half meters and throwing for her personal best of 19.08 meters. Her throw also beats the Birmingham CrossPlex’s facility record of 18.56 meters set in 2016.
Shot put is arguably Van Klinken’s weaker event compared to the discus throw, but with this much improvement in her shot throw, she will certainly compete to win the trifecta of NCAA titles.
Marshall Jr. was the only Sun Devil to compete on Friday. He was placed in the second out of two heats to qualify for the men’s 60-meter hurdle finals that took place on Saturday. Marshall Jr. locked up a spot in the finals after winning the second heat with a time of 7.63 seconds and finishing second behind Florida State senior Trey Cunningham.
In the finals, Marshall Jr. earned himself a third-place finish with a final time of 7.64 seconds. He fought through a rough get-off and came up from the very back of the pack, ending the race with a skin-grating dive and a medal. He was only .01 seconds shy of the runner-up’s time.
These three medal winners will have a quick competitive turnaround, as the outdoor season officially kicks off here in Tempe for the Baldy Castillo Invitational on Mar. 18-19. ASU will host some top-tier competition with seven teams bringing ranked men’s or women’s teams. Five of those seven are in the top-15.
Sun Devil women’s golf finished in third place at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate from Feb. 28 through March 2.
The three-day tournament was the first-ever regular-season women’s golf event broadcasted live on the GOLF channel, and the Sun Devils did not disappoint.
This was the best showing of the season for the young Rosholt, as she finished -1, tied for third overall in the tournament.
Forsterling finished +1, good for a tie for sixth. She has not finished outside the Top-20 in three events she’s participated in this season, continuing her strong senior season.
Sophomore Ashley Menne finished in a tie for 27th, finishing +7. She recorded three birdies in a second straight solid showing.
The Sun Devils look to continue the momentum at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, located at the Palos Verdes Country Club in Palos Verdes, California. The event takes place from March 13-15.
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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.
Kathryn Field is a sports editor at The State Press. Kathryn has previously worked as a full time reporter at The State Press, covering women’s basketball and lacrosse.
Walker Smith is a sports editor in the digital department of the State Press. He has previously worked as a reporter on the sports desk and works for Blaze Radio and interned at Big Slate Media in broadcast productions.
Aaron Schmidt is a sports reporter who covers ASU Baseball and ASU Women’s Golf for The State Press. He previously covered Higley High School football for AZPreps365.