Women's Water Polo Sweeps #5-UC Irvine & #17-Long Beach State

Donia Momen scored her first goal of the season in the Long Beach State win.
Jan. 23, 2016

Santa Barbara, Calif.----- In one of its best one-day team defensive efforts in years, the San Jose State University women's water polo team posted wins over #5-ranked UC Irvine and #17-Long Beach State at the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite.

The #8-ranked Spartans (5-1) defeated UC Irvine (0-1), 6-3, and followed up with a 9-6 triumph over Long Beach State.

Goalkeeper Tayler Peters was credited with 10 saves in each San Jose State victory. The win over UC Irvine was the Spartans' first win over a top-five nationally-ranked opponent since April 6, 2014, when San Jose State topped Arizona State, 7-5.

"Tayler is doing a great job," San Jose State head coach Johnny Bega said about his sophomore goalkeeper who had just four major college career starts before the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite.

"We played out of our minds on defense. We pressed them, got into their open spaces. We were patient on offense and had only eight turnovers. That is phenomenal," said about Bega about the UC Irvine win. San Jose State kept the Anteaters scoreless on eight power play opportunities and successfully defended 14 of 17 power plays on the day. On top of that, Peters stopped a penalty shot in the Long Beach State win.

San Jose State's Rae Lekness, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week, continued her early-season scoring spree with five goals in two matches for the Spartans. Her two back-to-back goals covering the first and second quarters were part of a five-goal first-half barrage as San Jose State overcame UC Irvine's (0-1), 1-0 lead. The senior from Calgary was the only multi-goal scorer in the match and has 21 goals for the season.

Kelli Leabo, whose goal put the Spartans ahead to stay, 2-1 with 1:25 left in the first quarter, Carla Toha Vilanova, Cara Robinson and McKenna Yates accounted for the remaining San Jose State scores against UC Irvine.



Yates scored twice and Toha Vilanova, Robinson and Leabo again found the cage for San Jose State in the win over Long Beach State. Donia Momen notched her first score of the season for the Spartans.

"We lost a lot of scoring (from last year's team), so we have to play great defense. We've got to keep the score as low as we can," the Spartans said.

San Jose State concludes its two days at the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite with a January 24 doubleheader against #7-Hawaii at 8:00 a.m. and #12-Michigan at 11:00 a.m.

UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite women's water polo tournament

Santa Barbara, Calif.

January 23, 2016

Match #9 -- Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
#8-San Jose State (4-1) 3 2 1 0 6
#5-UC Irvine (0-1) 1 0 1 1 3

Goal Scoring

San Jose State -- Rae Lekness, 2; Kelli Leabo, Cara Robinson, Carla Toha Vilanova, McKenna Yates, 1, each.

UC Irvine -- Natalie Seidemann, Mackenzie Milham, Mary Brooks, 1, each.

Goalkeeper Saves

San Jose State -- Tayler Peters, 10.

UC Irvine -- Annika Nelson, 11.


San Jose State -- 8.

UC Irvine -- 4.

Match #16 -- Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
#17-Long Beach State (0-2) 1 1 2 2 6
#8-San Jose State (5-1) 2 3 2 2 9

Goal Scoring

Long Beach State -- Virginia Smith, 2; Leigh Auth, Annabel Harman, Tori Morrissey, Alexandra Massier, 1, each.

San Jose State -- Rae Lekness, 3; McKenna Yates, 2; Carla Toha Vilanova, Kelli Leabo, Donia Momen, Cara Robinson, 1, each.

Goalkeeper Saves

Long Beach State -- Alexis Butler, 8.

San Jose State -- Tayler Peters, 10.


Long Beach State -- 5.

San Jose State -- 10.