San José, Calif.----- San José State University concluded hosting the LouStrong Memorial women's water polo tournament splitting a pair of exhibition contests with two of the world's top national teams.
The Spartans (4-0) defeated Brazil, currently ranked 14th in the FINA world rankings, 10-8, and lost to #2-People's Republic of China, 15-7.
"We learned a lot within ourselves from playing Sonoma State all the way to China. Our team became closer together as far as the weekend goes. It was a special weekend honoring (deceased former head coach) Lou Tully and we're very thankful having this tournament," said San Jose State head coach Johnny Bega.
Sophomore Clara Espar Llquet powered San José State to the win over Brazil with six goals. Espar Llaquet scored all five Spartan goals in the second half and broke a 7-7 tie with a power-play goal with 0:04 left in the third quarter to ignite a personal 3-0 run against the Brazilians.
San José State jumped out to a 5-0 lead midway through the second-quarter after Timi Molnar scored for the second time on a power play to complete a first-half three-goal hat trick. The Spartans coach then liberally substituted players into the pool and Brazil battled back to tie the match at 0:34 on Flavia Vigna's third goal.
"In recent years, we played only eight or nine (field) players year after year. We need to find more players and players that can help us out and have (meaningful) roles throughout the year," Bega said about his use of substitutes during the three-day tournament.
In the nightcap against The People's Republic of China, the Chinese team, facing San José State for the third time on its American tour, scored five consecutive goals to start the second half and break open a 3-2 tightly-contested first two periods.
Rae Lekness, who scored 16 goals in San José State's four wins the first two days of the tournament, and Bianca Seyfert each scored twice for the Spartans against the People's Republic of China. Thompson had a busy game guarding the cage and was credited with 10 saves.
In other LouStrong Memorial final-day matches, Pacific and UC Davis each defeated Cal State Monterey Bay, 13-4 and 10-4, respectively; the People's Republic of China handled UC Davis, 18-5 in an exhibition; and Brazil edged Pacific, 9-8, in a sudden-victory overtime encounter.
San José State returns to action at the UCSB Winter Invite in Santa Barbara with matches against Cal Baptist and Cal State Northridge on January 23 and Michigan and Long Beach State on January 24.
San José State University women's water polo
LouStrong Memorial Tournament
The Aquatics Center, San José, Calif.
January 18, 2015
Match 18 (exhibition)
San José State 2-3-3-2=10
Brazil - Amanda Oliviera, Flavia Vigna, 3, each; Diana Abla, Mariana Roge, 1, each.
Brazil - Tess Oliviera, 2.
Brazil - 15.
San José State - 8.
Match 21 (exhibition)
People's Republic of China 2-1-5-7=15
San José State 1-1-1-4=7
People's Republic of China - Zhao Zihan, 4; Xiong Dunhan, Niu Guanan, 3, each; Song Dunlun, Tianm Jianing, 2, each; Zhang Lei, 1.
People's Republic of China - Yang Jun, 3.
San José State - Katelynn Thompson, 10.
People's Republic of China - 4.
San José State - 11.
People's Republic of China 18, UC Davis 5 (exhibition)
Pacific 13, Cal State Monterey Bay 4
UC Davis 10, Cal State Monterey Bay 4
Brazil 9, Pacific 8 (OT - sudden victory, exhibition)