Women's Water Polo Best Start Ever After Another Doubleheader Sweep

Clara Espar Llaquet's second-quarter 'hat trick' fueled the Spartans' comeback win over Long Beach State.
Jan. 24, 2015

Santa Barbara, Calif.----- The San José State University women's water polo team is off to its best start in program history following its second doubleheader sweep in the UCSB Winter Invite.

The #7-ranked Spartans (8-0) took care of #17-Michigan (1-1), 7-5, posted their first come-from-behind win of 2015 in a 12-7 victory over #12-Long Beach State (0-2). San José State's previous best start to a season was winning its first seven contests in 2010.

"I'm very happy. I'm very happy with our learning curve. This is a great start for us," summarized San José State head coach Johnny Bega about the four wins at the UCSB Winter Invite. " The team in starting to gel. This was a great travel trip for us and was great preparation for the Stanford Tournament (next weekend).

"We played better competition this week. We definitely had competitive matches. We held our own especially on defense."

The Spartans needed to rely on their defense especially against Michigan in the team's lowest scoring win of the season.

Goalkeeper Katelynn Thompson anchored the Spartans' defense with eight saves in each of the two wins. Thompson allowed only 20 goals in 14 quarters of action when counting the 18-8 triumph over unranked Cal Baptist and the 8-6 victory over #11-ranked Cal State Northridge.

Rae Lekness moved into seventh place on the San José State career-scoring list with 159 after scoring three times each against Michigan and Long Beach State. Lekness leads the 2015 Spartans in scoring with 29 goals.



Clara Espar Llaquet, blanked for the first time in her college career when she missed her five shots in the Michigan win, bounced back to score a match-high five times in the nightcap against Long Beach State. With the Spartans trailing 4-2 in the second quarter, Espar Llaquet closed out the first-half scoring herself with three goals for a 5-4 halftime lead. Espar Llaquet's consecutive-game scoring streak ended at 39 dating back to her first game as a Spartan freshman.

But, it was Lekness that gave San José State the lead for good in the Long Beach State match with goals at 4:31 and 0:06 in the third quarter to break a 5-5 tie.

With wins over three-ranked teams in the top-20, the Spartans get their toughest test to date when they face #-6 ranked UC Irvine, #18-UC Davis, #1-Stanford and a fourth top-20 team at the Stanford Invitational, January 31 and February 1.

UCSB Winter Invite Women's Water Polo Tournament

Santa Barbara, Calif.

January 24, 2015

Match 22 - Score by Quarters
1 2 3 4 Total
#7-San José State (8-0) 2 3 2 5 12
12-Long Beach State (0-2) 3 1 1 2 7

Goal Scoring

San José State - Clara Espar Llaquet, 5; Rae Lekness, 3; Timi Molnar, 2; Victoria Smith, Bianca Seyfert, 1, each.

Long Beach State - Kayla Robert, 2; Emily Matheson, Justine Morgan, Christina Kotsia, Luiza Moraes, Virginia Smith, 1, each.

Goalkeeper Saves

San José State - Katelynn Thompson, 8.

Long Beach State - Alba Dominguez, 4.


San José State - 10.

Long Beach State - 9.

Match 22 - Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
#7-San José State (7-0) 2 2 2 1 7
#17-Michigan (1-1) 1 1 2 1 5

Goal Scoring

San José State - Rae Lekness, 3; Cara Robinson, 2, each; Victoria Smith, Timi Molnar, 1, each.

Michigan - Caroline Anderson, 2; Allison Skaggs, Kelly Martin, Elizabeth Williams, 1, each.

Goalkeeper Saves

San José State - Katelynn Thompson, 8.

Michigan - Emily Browning, 6.


San José State - 8.

Michigan - 10.