Arizona State Water Polo vs. San Diego State

TEMPE, Arizona, April 21. IT was a day of threes Saturday afternoon for the No. 6 Arizona State University water polo team as the Sun Devils upset visiting No. 4 San Diego State, 10-7, in a crucial Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) contest on Senior Day at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe. The Sun Devils (20-10, 7-5 MPSF) sent their senior trio of Traci Aparicio, Katy Lawlor and Caylinn Wallace out on a high note as ASU knocked off its third Top 4 team on the year while sending the Aztecs (26-5, 8-4 MPSF) to just their fifth loss of the year.

The victory, which solidified the sixth seed in the upcoming MPSF Championships for the Sun Devils and marks their highest seeding in the annual tournament in program history, recorded the third upset of a Top 4 team on the year and its second at home this year. The Sun Devils previously defeated No. 4 California (8-7) at home after knocking off No. 2 USC (8-5) at the Stanford Invitational earlier in the year. The win also gave the Sun Devils 20 wins on the year, tying the 2008 squad with the 2003 team for the most wins in a season.

The Sun Devils came out firing in the first quarter and took an early 1-0 lead just 26 seconds into the contest as rookie Lauren Hayes skipped a shot past SDSU goalie Heather Fenske on the advantage. Just over one minute later, senior Lawlor moved into the center position and fired a back-hand shot for the 2-0 lead before Kelly Phelps fired home a bullet from outside at 1:36 to stake the hosts to a 3-0 lead.

In the second quarter, the Aztecs got on the board as Erinn Greenwood scored on the advantage before Lawlor answered with her second strike of the game. Becca Ur tallied for the visitors 40 seconds later to cut the lead to 4-2, but Bonnie Miles snuck a shot past Fenske on the advantage for a 5-2 lead. With 58 seconds remaining in the stanza, Anna Gonzales took a shot from 10-meters out that was redirected off the hands of the ASU defense and into the goal for a 5-3 score at the break.

Things got interesting in the third quarter as the Aztecs scored at 7:09 on a Greenwood goal to cut the lead to one goal (5-4) before Hayes answered with her second goal to push the lead back to two. Both teams again traded goals twice more as Jenna Schuster scored both times for SDSU to cut the lead to one each time with Addison McGrath answering both times with goals at 2:13 and 1:37 for an 8-6 lead for ASU heading into the final quarter of play.

In the fourth quarter, SDSU got an early goal from Gonzales on an outside shot to make the score, 8-7, but McGrath converted a five-meter penalty goal at 3:37 before Phelps closed the scoring at 1:13 with another insurance goal. The defense stood tall during the game, especially in the final minutes of play, and were anchored by the play of Wallace, who recorded eight saves, including three in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.

Special thanks to Arizona State for contributing this report.