Cambridge, Mass.----- The San José State University women's water polo team completed a four-match sweep at the Harvard Invitational defeating host Harvard, 19-12, and Marist, 13-6, on the tournament's second and final day.
The #9-ranked Spartans (16-5) never trailed in any of their four matches and ended Harvard's (10-5) six-match winning streak handing the Crimson its most one-sided loss of the season.
Sophomore Clara Espar Llaquet turned in one of the most dominant scoring sprees by a San José State player in a four-match non-conference tournament. The Spartans' leading scorer scored six goals each against Harvard and Marist without playing in the fourth quarter of either victory and had 24 goals for the Invitational. Espar Llaquet, with 66 goals for the season, nearly outscored San José State's four opponents combined singlehandedly. The Spartans gave up 25 goals in their four wins.
While Espar Llaquet was the dominant offensive player in the Invitational, San José State continued its scoring balance from the previous day. Eight Spartans scored against Harvard and six found the cage against Marist.
"That's definitely impressive. We need it and knowing that we have that many players that can score, we can be very successful," said San José State coach Johnny Bega, whose team totaled 62 goals in the four wins. "This is a team that really looks to make the extra pass.
"With Clara scoring that many goals, we we're crossing (our passes) and finding the extra player. She seemed to be the extra player and she was (ahead) on transition a lot."
Twelve of the Spartans' 14 field players scored during the weekend. Rae Lekness, second on the team in scoring with 47, scored seven times in four matches. Bianca Seyfert, having her best season offensively, scored six goals in the Invitational to increase her season total to 36.
Though the Spartans gave up seven fourth-quarter goals to Harvard, Bega was pleased with the weekend's defensive play.
"Our defense is much better and stronger and that will help. Vicki (Smith) and Timi (Molnar) are making things happen (on defense) and Clara is working very hard to get open and finish. They all are really complementing each other."
Tayler Peters and Katelynn Thompson divided the Spartans' goalkeeping duties for the second day in a row. Thompson started the Harvard match and gave up four goals in the first half. Peters started against Marist and limited the Red Wolves to two scores in two quarters of action.
San José State returns to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play, Saturday, March 14, hosting the University of California in a 1:00 p.m. match at The Aquatics Center. The Spartan Digital Network on www.sjsuspartans.com will provide live coverage.
Harvard Invitational women's water polo tournament
Blodgett Pool, Cambridge, Mass.
March 8, 2015
|#9- San José State (16-5)||4||4||3||2||13|
|San José State - Clara Espar Llaquet, 6; Rae Lekness, 3; Donia Momen, Victoria Smith, McKenna Yates, Bianca Seyfert, 1, each.|
|Marist - Amanda Amorosa, 3; Anna-Lena Hathaway, Hannah Levien, Molly Shamieh, 1, each.|
|Marist - Skyler Henry, 5; Jessica Hermosillo, 5.|
|San José State - 13.|
|Marist - 4.|
|#9-San José State (15-5)||6||4||6||3||19|
|San José State - Clara Espar Llaquet, 6; Donia Momen, 3; Rae Lekness, Victoria Smith, Timi Molnar, Brittany Krappe, 2, each; Cara Robinson, Kelli Leabo, 1, each.|
|Harvard - Yoshi Andersen, 3; Haley Bowe, Zoe Osborne, Melissa Balding, 2; Charlotte Hendrix, Eela Nagaraj, Victoria Frager, 1.|
|San José State - Katelynn Thompson (2 quarters), 3; Tayler Peters (2 quarters), 4.|
|Harvard - Ariel Dukes (two quarters), 4; Cleo Hamilton (two quarters), 3.|
|San José State - 12.|
|Harvard - 6.|