March 15, 2014
San Diego, Calif.----- For the second time this season, the San José State University women's water polo team defeated a top-10 nationally-ranked opponent when the Spartans beat previously unbeaten and #8-ranked Princeton, 10-6, in the Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State.
#10-ranked San José State (15-9) pulled away in the third quarter with four scores overcoming a 5-4 deficit to complete a sweep of first-day action. In their morning match, the Spartans easily dispatched unranked Bucknell (6-7), 17-4.
Sophomore Bianca Seyfert scored a single-game personal best five goals and freshman Clara Espar Llaquetscored the go-ahead goal for the Spartans in the win over Princeton (15-1). The Tigers had won 17 consecutive matches dating back to two victories in the consolation bracket of the 2013 NCAA Championship.
Princeton and San José State were tied 4-4 at halftime thanks to a 5-meter penalty shot save late in the second quarter by Spartan goalkeeper Katelynn Thompsonwho was making her fourth start of the season and first since January 25. The freshman started in both Aztec Invitational wins. She was credited with six saves against Princeton and four playing just the first half against Bucknell.
"It was a great game overall and a great, great confidence booster. Princeton was undefeated and regarded as the best team in the East," San José State interim head coach Johnny Begasaid about beating the Tigers. The Spartans gave up just 10 goals in the two wins.
DEFENSE KEYS THE VICTORIES
"We worked on our defense the last two weeks straight. We know we can score. The defense truly stepped up. We had seven shot blocks, 12 steals and came up with big stops against Princeton. And, (goalkeeper) Katelynn played very well."
San José State gained control of the match with four unanswered goals in the third period after Princeton opened the second-half scoring. Timi Molnarconverted a 5-meter penalty shot and Espar Llaquet followed with an even-strength goal for a 6-5 lead. Espar Llaquet finished the day with five goals in two matches and tied the San José State single-season freshman scoring record of 69 goals set by Molnar in 2011.
Seyfert, who extended her consecutive-match scoring streak to a season-best six, scored twice on power play opportunities and three in even-strength possessions. Her six goals for the two matches were tops for San José State which concludes its Aztec Invitational play with #20-Wagner and Harvard on March 16.
"Bianca was everywhere. She is an extremely hard worker and it paid off. She was in the right spot at the right moment," the Spartans' interim coach said after the Princeton win. Last month, the Spartans topped #6-Hawaii, 12-11, at the UC Irvine Invitational.
San José State University, which scored 10 or more goals in a match for the 11th time in the last 12, found the opponent's goal on its first four shots and went on to a 17-4 win over Bucknell University in the Aztec Invitational women's water polo tournament.
Espar Llaquet led the way offensively for the #10-ranked Spartans with four goals. Molnar and Victoria Smith with three each and Rae Leknesswith a pair were three more multi-goal scorers for San José State. Nine Spartans scored in the team's most one-sided win since an 18-3 victory over Fresno Pacific in the UC Santa Barbara Winter Invitational on January 25.
"We came out strong and that paved the way. We were consistent the whole way and our defense was really strong," said Bega about the Bucknell win.
San José State University women's water polo
Aztec Invitational, San Diego, Calif.
March 15, 2014
|Match # 6||1||2||3||4||Total|
|#10-San José State (15-9)||2||2||4||2||10|
|Princeton - Katie Rigler, 3, Jessie Holecheck, 2; Pippa Temple, 1.|
|San José State - Bianca Seyfert, 5; Rae Lekness, 2; Clara Espar Llaquet, Timi Molnar, Victoria Smith, 1, each.|
|Princeton - Ashleigh Johnson, 7.|
|San José State - Katelynn Thompson, 6.|
|Princeton - 8.|
|San José State - 10.|
|Match # 2||1||2||3||4||Total|
|#10-San José State (14-9)||5||4||2||6||17|
|Bucknell - Mackenzie Ferry, Tegan Stanbach, Hannah Sunday, Eleanor Marrs.|
|San José State - Clara Espar Llaquet, 4; Timi Molnar, Victoria Smith, 3, each; Rae Lekness, 2; Rachel Henry, Kelli Leabo, Dani Styles, Bianca Seyfert, Donia Momen, 1, each.|
|Bucknell - Rena Helm, 7.|
|San José State - Katelynn Thompson, 4; Maddie Reardon, 2.|
|Bucknell - 4.|
|San José State - 8.|