Water polo set for big MPSF draw against Cal
The No. 5 Arizona State University water polo team will host its second consecutive home game, March 10, against No. 4 Cal at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe, Ariz., beginning at 1 p.m. MST. In a game with large MPSF implications, the Sun Devils will take on the Golden Bears for the second time this season after falling to Cal at the UCI Invitational earlier this season, 8-5. The Sun Devils earned their first conference victory since 2008 last weekend against then-No. 5 San Diego State in the team’s conference and home opener. Saturday’s match up will be the annual Sun Devil “Gold Game” and fans are encouraged to support the team in wearing gold to the event.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
The Golden Bears enter the weekend on top of the MPSF standings with a 2-0 record in conference play and a 15-4 overall record. When the two team’s faced earlier this season at th UCI invite, ASU jumped to an early 4-3 lead through the first quarter before the Cal defense stiffened up and allowed just one more Sun Devil goal on the game en route to a 8-5 Golden Bear victory. The Sun Devils have not topped Cal since Feb. 22, 2009 .
A LOOK BACK - San Diego State
The No. 5 Sun Devils played perhaps their best game of the season in the team’s MPSF and home opener last weekend at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. ASU routed the then-No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs, 12-3, on the heels of seven goals from junior Shannon Haas and 15 saves from sophomore goalkeeper Ianeta Hutchinson, both career highs. The victory gave the Sun Devils their first victory in MPSF regular season competition since the 2008 season.
FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT
Despite being held scoreless against the Aztecs, senior Alicia Brightwell currently leads the MPSF with 41 goals and her 2.73 goals per game is also tops in the conference. Brightwell has scored multiple goals in 13 of her 15 appearances this season, being held scoreless in both matches against SDSU this season. Already, Brightwell is just seven goals shy of cracking ASU’s single season top-10 goal scoring list. Brightwell’s effort in the Triton Invitational earned her the second MPSF Player of the Week award in the first three weeks of the season.
LUCKY NUMBER 7
Junior Shannon Haas had perhaps the best performance in the nation against the Aztecs as she scored a career-high seven goals from the center position to held ASU to the 12-3 upset. Haas’ seven goals tied a school record with ASU greats Addison McGrath and Lynlee Smith and was the most for a single game among all MPSF student-athletes this season. Her 26 goals this year currently rank her 11th in the MPSF Conference.
THE CARTER 3
One Sun Devil student-athlete who has flown under the radar a bit has been senior Annabelle Carter. Carter netted a hat trick against the Aztecs last weekend and has scored three or more goals in three of the past five games. Carter has already logged 54 points on the season, which ranks second on the team and is a career high for the Australian native. In addition, Carter continues to climb the creer lists in both goals, assists and points scored and has been among the most consistent of the Sun Devils this season.
NOT IN OUR ‘NETA
Goalkeeper Ianeta Hutchinson continues to rise the all-time saves list. Her performances last weekend bumped her up to 318 career saves as she currently sits second on ASU’s all-time saves list and climbing. Her 15 saves against the Aztecs were a career high and tied for the ninth most in a single game by a Sun Devil in history. After allowing the first two shot attempts of the game to go by her, Hutchinson clamped down for 15 consecutive saves, holding SDSU scoreless for the the entire third quarter and the better parts of the second and fourth quarters.
Freshman Anna Kertes is beginning to establish herself as one of the top freshman in the nation with her recent play. Kertes is third on the team with 27 goals which ranks her in a tie for second in the MPSF conference among freshmen. Kertes was honored as the MPSF Newcomer of the Week after her effort at the Triton Invitational, netting a second-half hat trick against UC Irvine as the Sun Devils held off the Anteaters for the championship in the tournament.