STOCKTON, Calif. -- San José State men's water polo was thinking upset early during their matchup with #7-Long Beach State Friday night, November 18, but the 49ers pulled away and took the 13-5 win.
"The guys played really hard but Long Beach State was able to expose our lack of depth and youth in the second half," said San José State head coach Bruce Watson. "This team is competitive and hates to lose. It was a good learning experience for them and the coaches."
On the day that Nolan McConnell was named Golden Coast Conference (GCC) Co-Player of the Year, he opened the scoring for the 49ers (15-8, 3-2) at 4:52 in the first quarter.
Ben Hauschild, an All-GCC honorable mention selection, answered for the Spartans (7-20, 0-5) with what could have been the play of the night.
Hauschild, who led the conference in steals and had the third most in the nation with 49 this season, showcased one of his trademark steals in the first quarter. He then raced the length of the pool and fired a shot that skipped under the left arm of LBSU goalie Thomas Freeman.
"It was an excellent heads up play by Ben," said Watson. "He made a great steal and showed great aggression in taking it down to offense. He got us a key early goal."
The Spartans then took a 2-1 lead into the first quarter break after freshman Marc Weber fired a shot across the cage and into the back of the net with 1:36 left in the first quarter.
SJSU kept Long Beach State off the board until 5:15 in the second quarter when the ball fell to Australia native Mitchell Holden after a mad scramble in front of Spartan goalie Conrad Gordon. Holden put the ball in the back of the net to tie the game at two.
McConnell, who ended up with a game high five goals, then put the 49ers in front with a shot that beat the shot clock by just two seconds. Freshman Giacomo Lovatelli, however, took advantage of a Spartan power play on the next possesion and pulled SJSU even.
The 49ers and Spartans traded goals until McConnell put the 49ers ahead, 6-4, with seven seconds left in the second quarter. It was the first time either team had led by two all night.
San José State's defense put on a clinic in the first half. After struggling with giving up goals on opponent power play opportunities, the Spartans foiled both of Long Beach State's power plays in the first quarter and kept the 49ers to 2-8 in 6-on-5 situations on the night.
Spartan freshman Gordon pitched in on defense with four saves in the first quarter and 12 total for the game.
The Spartans went 3-4 on offensive power plays and their special teams play was a big reason they had the 49ers within their sights at halftime.
The third quarter started in a goal flurry with three goals in the first 90 seconds of the second half.
After that, however, it was a different game. Long Beach State's defense came to life and stifled the San José State attack.
A Marc Weber goal at 7:02 in the third quarter made the score 7-5 but the Spartans didn't score again and the 49ers pushed the score to the final, 13-5.
San José State returns to the pool tomorrow, Saturday November 19, for their last game of the season. The Spartans take on #19-UC Irvine at 4:30 p.m.
Golden Coast Conference Match
Chris Kjeldsen Pool
Friday, November 18, 2016
San José State vs. #7-Long Beach State - 6:00 p.m.
|San José State||2||2||1||0||5|
|#7-Long Beach State||1||5||3||4||13|
San José State: Marc Weber 2, Ashley Castle, Ben Hauschild, Giacomo Lovatelli
Long Beach State: Nolan McConnell 5, Max Cusator 2, Mitchell Holden 2, Austin Stevenson, Jacob Fujioka, Keegan Wicken, Duncan Lynde
San José State: Conrad Gordon, 12
Long Beach State: Thomas Freeman, 9
San José State: 8
Long Beach State: 4