Newport Beach, Calif.----- The San Jose State University women's water polo team had its best day of the season posting a doubleheader sweep of #15-Long Beach State and #9-UC Santa Barbara on the second day of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational hosted by UC Irvine.
The 17th-ranked Spartans (6-9) edged Long Beach State, 6-5, in its morning match and came back from a 6-4 deficit to start the fourth quarter for a 9-7 overtime win against UC Santa Barbara (9-6). The victory over UCSB was the Spartans' first win against a nationally-ranked top-10 team and first in two overtime contests this season.
"We played two really good opponents today. We had a lot of energy and it resulted in winning two games," said San Jose State head coach Gabor Sarusi.
San Jose State's special teams had a big hand in the two wins. The Spartans were 7-of-12 on the 6-on-5 power play and allowed just two goals in 18 opponent power plays on the day. In addition, San Jose State goalkeeper Katelynn Thompson stopped a 5-meter penalty shot midway through the fourth quarter of the UC Santa Barbara match to keep the Spartans close at 6-4.
Thompson had nine saves in each San Jose State win. The Spartans came into the day's action allowing more than 11 goals per match, but only gave up 12 on the day.
"Katelynn was big for us. And, we played real good team defense. We had a lot of field blocks," added the Spartans coach. "Our counter defense improved a lot and our half-court defense has been good."
Donia Momen scored four times in two games, three of them on power plays. Two of her power play goals came in the fourth quarter. Her first fourth-quarter power play goal turned out to be the game winner with 3:42 remaining in the Long Beach State win. Her fourth-quarter power play score against UC Santa Barbara pulled the Spartans within one, 6-5, with 2:12 to go. McKenna Yates tied the match, 6-6, on San Jose State's next possession.
Sheila Jensen scored her only goal of the day to give the Spartans a 7-6 lead with 1:31 in the first overtime. UCSB's Sarah Kreiser answered on the Gauchos next possession.
Carla Toha Vilanova, San Jose State's top goal scorer on the day with five, scored the game-winning goal with 2:27 in the second overtime. Klaudia Paradi added an insurance score with 13 seconds remaining for the 9-7 victory.
Toha Vilanova was the match's high scorer in the 6-5 win over Long Beach State. She scored the Spartans' first three goals staking San Jose State to a 3-0 lead in the second quarter. Long Beach State tied the match, 3-3 in the third quarter, and 5-5 with 4:39 to go in the fourth before Momen's power-play game-winner.
In the win over Long Beach State, San Jose State survived a second quarter in which the 49ers were just 1-of-5 on the power play. Long Beach State went scoreless on its first nine power play chances in the opening half. Thompson made a pair of saves during two of Long Beach State's four power plays in the first quarter.
"Long Beach State is a very physical team," said Sarusi. "We played well as a team. We handled adversity well and our players off the bench played well.
"This is a much needed win for sure. It's definitely nice to beat a team ranked ahead of us," Sarusi said.
San Jose State will play Pacific on Sunday, February 26 for ninth place in the 16-team tournament. The contest begins at the Corona del Mar pool at 1:00 p.m. The two teams met on February 19 at the Aggie Shootout with Pacific posting a 9-6 victory.
San Jose State University women's water polo
Barbara Kalbus Invitational
Corona del Mar Pool, Newport Beach, Calif.
Feb. 25, 2017
|#17-San Jose State (6-9)||2||0||2||2||1||2||9|
|#9-UC Santa Barbara (9-6)||1||2||2||1||1||0||7|
UC Santa Barbara -- Brenna Thomas, Sarah Krieser, 2; Sarah Snyder, Kate Pipkin, Sophie Trabucco, 1, each.
San Jose State -- Katelynn Thompson, 9.
UC Santa Barbara -- Kelsey Fennell, 10.
San Jose State -- 9.
UC Santa Barbara -- 5.
|#17-San Jose State (5-9)||2||1||2||1||6|
|#15-Long Beach State (4-6)||0||2||2||1||5|
Long Beach State -- Alexandra Massier, 2; Virginia Smith, Raney Remme, Christina Kotsia, 1, each.
San Jose State -- Katelynn Thompson, 9.
Long Beach State -- Eirini Patras -- 5.
San Jose State -- 10.
Long Beach State - 7.