San José, Calif. --- Freshman Carla Toha Vilanova led #10-San José State with two goals but the Spartans couldn't overcome an early first-quarter deficit, falling to #1-University of Southern California, 11-6, at the Aquatics Center on Saturday.
"That first quarter we needed to come out with a little more aggressiveness, make those stops and not so many errors. We were a little nervous. It's a big match. We got to compose ourselves and get after it," said Spartans Head Coach Johnny Bega.
The Trojans (15-0, 2-0 MPSF) established an early 3-0 lead start the match, putting pressure on the Spartans (13-11, 0-3 MPSF). San José State answered back five minutes into the contest on a shot by Toha Vilanova for her first of two goals.
"We had a great defense and our offense was working which allowed me to get open to score," Toha Vilanova said.
Scoring for USC in the opening quarter were Ioanna Haralabidis, Nikki Stansfield, Mellissa Bergensen and Brigitta Games with two goals. Games' second goal came with the Spartans being down a player after an exclusion foul.
San José State bounced back defensively in the second quarter to shutout USC while cutting into the Trojans' lead. The Spartans' junior Donia Momen scored the only goal in the quarter with two minutes left on a six-on-five power-play opportunity.
"Defensively the first quarter was shaky but the rest of the game it was a real team effort. We all pulled our weight and did what we needed to do while helping out our teammates," said junior Cara Robinson.
The Spartans continued to keep the scoring tight in the third and fourth quarters against the Trojans. Limiting the Spartans leading score to one goal, senior Rae Lekness scored her 70th goal of the season 29 seconds into the third quarter to cut USC's lead to 5-3.
"Other teams see Rae at the scoring top and they are going to say we have to stop her. If they stop her than it's going to make it harder for our team to win," Bega said.
The Trojans added three goals in third to expand their lead out to five goals before the Spartans freshman Sierra Painter found the back of the net with four seconds left in the quarter. Scoring for USC were Avery Peterson with two goals and Annika Jensen.
San José State held USC to three goals in the fourth as well but was unable to cut into the Trojans lead before the final whistle. The Spartans' Toha Vilanova scored her second goal on a power-play and senior Kelli Leabo added the final goal of the match with two and half minutes left.
Collecting goals in the fourth for USC were Peterson with her third goal, Ioanna Haralabidis with her second on a power-play and Stephania Haralabidis.
Freshman goalkeeper Alicia Magliocco collected 11 saves in the cage for the Spartans, matching her season high post on March 18 against Whitter.
"If you have a good goalie and someone who is on, your defense feels more confident. If your defense feels more confident than you can go play offense. If you get some of those stops then the momentum is on our side." Bega said.
USC goalkeeper Victória Chamorro made six saves in the first three quarters of action while unable to stop the Spartans in the fourth.
The Spartans will be on the road next week to challenge #2-UCLA on Friday, April 2, before facing off with Pomona-Pitzer and Redlands in the UCLA Invitational on Saturday, April 3.
San José State University women's water polo
The Aquatics Center, San José, Calif.
March 26, 2016
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match
|Score by Quarters||1||2||3||4||Total|
|#1-USC (15-0, 2-0 MPSF)||5||0||3||3||11|
|#10-San José State (13-11, 0-3 MPSF)||1||1||2||2||6|
USC -- Avery Peterson, 3; Ioanna Haralabidis, Brigitta Games, 2, each; Annika Jensen, Nikki Stansfield, Mellissa Bergesen, Stephania Haralabidis, 1, each.
San José State -- Carla Toha Vilanova, 2; Rae Lekness, Kelli Leabo, Donia Momen, Sierra Painter, 1, each.
USC -- Victória Chamorro, 6 saves.
San José State -- Alicia Magliocco, 11 saves.
USC -- 5.
San José State -- 8.