It's been a rough year for Arizona State sports.
The football team imploded down the stretch, head coach Dennis Erickson was fired and the ensuing search was a fiasco. The men's basketball team has battled turnovers, eligibility and suspension while compiling a 7-14 record. Baseball is talented as ever, but will be ineligible for postseason play.
However, submerged below the surface of those woes is a Sun Devil team coming off a top 10 finish a season ago and who currently hold the No. 6 ranking in the nation.
After a season opening win over No. 17 UC Santa Barbara, the women's water polo team competed this past weekend in the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite tournament. The Sun Devils dominated the competition en route to a 4-0 finish in tournament play..
An opening game 17-2 thrashing of Santa Clara served merely as prelude to the second match, a battle of top 10 powers. The sixth ranked Sun Devils faced off against the seventh ranked Anteaters of UC Irvine. ASU took an early lead and later leaned heavily on their talented defense to secure a thrilling 9-8 win.
The final day of the tournament held no such drama, as the Sun Devils make quick work of both CSU Bakersfield 15-5 and then Concordia 16-7.
Now 5-0, the water polo team is ranked No. 6 in the nation and is enjoying its best start in four years.
The early star of the squad has been senior transfer Alicia Brightwell. The talented attacker came to ASU from the University of Sydney, where she was also a member of the Australian National Team. She has registered 16 goals in the season's first five games, only once falling short of a hat trick (two goals against Santa Clara).
The team heads back to California this weekend for the Cal Baptist tournament, with opponents and game times still to be determined.
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