San Jose State University concluded its opening weekend of women's water polo matches finishing with a 3-1 record after defeating Cal State Monterey Bay, 15-9, and losing to defending NCAA champion Stanford, 10-5, on the second day of the LouStrong Memorial tournament.
"It was a good start. We saw a lot of things our team did well and things we need to improve on. Our play got better with each match. I was impressed with the hard work they put into the Stanford match. To keep Stanford to 10 goals or less is very good," said San Jose State head coach Johnny Bega.
For the second consecutive day, senior Rae Lekness was the Spartans' top overall scorer with six goals -- five in the Cal State Monterey Bay win and one against Stanford (4-0). After surpassing the 200-career goal mark on opening day with 10 goals in two matches, Lekness moved into a third-place tie with Timi Molnar on the school's career list with 16-goal weekend for 212 career goals.
After falling behind Stanford, 6-1 in the third quarter, the Spartans rallied with consecutive goals by Cara Robinson, Carla Toha Vilanova and Klaudia Paradi in a 2:53 span to closed the deficit to 6-4. Stanford responded with its own three-goal unanswered spurt to build a comfortable 9-4 advantage in the fourth quarter. Toha Vilanova was the only Spartan to score more than once with two goals against the Cardinal.
Stanford goalkeeper Julia Hermann stopped nine San Jose State shots on goal. Teammate Jamie Neushul was the match's leading scorer with three goals evenly distributed between the second and fourth quarters.
In the nightcap against Cal State Monterey Bay (0-4), the Spartans' lineup included six freshmen, three of them making their first major college start. The Otters built a 4-1 first-quarter lead in the first four minutes. Lekness and others with more playing experience then entered the contest and tied the match at 4-4 by the end of the quarter.
Freshman Shannon Spence made her Spartan debut in goal and made seven saves in the win. Sierra Painter, with two, and Michelle Taikeff would score goals for against Cal State Monterey Bay in their first San Jose State starting assignment.
"We have a lot of young players and we need to incorporate them with our older players. That's why we had a lot of combinations going in and out. It was good to help them build their confidence and give experience for next week's tougher matches," the Spartans head coach added.
The Spartans next head to the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invitational January 23 & 24, to face four top-20 preseason nationally-ranked teams - #17-Long Beach State, #5-UC Irvine, #7-Hawaii and #20-Wagner. The Spartans were ranked #8 in the preseason coaches poll.
LouStrong Memorial women's water polo tournament
The Aquatics Center, San Jose, Calif.
January 17, 2016
Stanford (4-0) 2-3-3-2=10
San Jose State (2-1) 0-1-3-1=5
Stanford -- Jamie Neushul, 3; Gurpreet Sohi, Jordan Raney, 2, each; Dani Jackovich, Katie Dudley, Anna Yelizarova, 1, each.
Stanford - Julia Hermann, 9.
San Jose State -- Tayler Peters, 5.
Stanford -- 4.
San Jose State -- 6.
Cal State Monterey Bay (0-4) 4-2-0-3=9
San Jose State (3-1) 4-2-5-4=15
Cal State Monterey Bay -- Amanda Kitchen, Adrianna Craft, 2, each; Megan Murphy, Cami Kellogg, Tatiana Veloso, Marisa Lovos, Maggie Albers, 1, each.
Cal State Monterey Bay -- Morgen Fain, 10.
San Jose State -- Shannon Spence, 7.
Cal State Monterey Bay -- 8.
San Jose State -- 3.