April 6, 2014
San José State University freshman goalkeeper Katelynn Thompsonstopped 11 shots and three Spartans scored two goals each in a 7-5 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) women's water polo win over #5-Arizona State University.
The win by #8-San José State was the Spartans' third over a top-10 ranked team this season and sixth in its last seven contests. San José State has wins over then-#6 Hawaii, previous #8-Princeton and now #5-Arizona State.
"BEST GAME THIS SEASON"
"We played really well as a team. Our defense led to our offense and our offense led back to our defense. This wouldn't have been possible without everyone working together and that's exactly what they did," said Thompson, the Spartans starting goalkeeper since the Aztec Invitational on March 15 when San José State began its recent success that now includes four triumphs over top-20 squads.
"I can confidently say this is the best game we played this season. We worked together on offense and we worked together on defense. We were always talking."
San José State (19-10, 1-3 MPSF) never trailed the entire match. Victoria Smith'sback-to-back goals in a 1:02 span bridging the end of the first and start of the second quarter broke a 1-1 tie, the only time the Sun Devils (13-8, 1-4 MPSF) stayed even with the Spartans.
Clara Espar Llaquet and Rae Leknessjoined Smith as two-goal scorers for San José State. Espar Llaquet became the ninth MPSF player and first Spartan to reach 90 goals in a season with her two scores in the win.
"This was an important game. All the team played for the seniors," said Espar Llaquet, a freshman who has at least one goal in all 29 San José State games this season. "The key of our game was our defense. Today, we were helping each other all the time. In the cage, Katelynn played really good. Everything worked."
Bianca Seyfertaccounted for the Spartans' other score in the match that gave San José State a 7-2 lead with 6:01 remaining in the match.
San José State relied heavily on its team defense scoring its fewest goals in a win since a 7-4 victory over UC Irvine on March 7, 2010. Thompson helped keep the Sun Devils scoreless the entire second and third quarters and for 23:46 overall between the first and fourth quarters.
Ao Gao led Arizona State offensively with three scores. Her first tied the match at 2:23 of the first quarter. She added a pair of late goals in the final 1:18 to close out the game's scoring.
Alkistis Benekou and Kate Enoka scored the Sun Devils' other two goals. Arizona State came into the game averaging 12 goals a match.
The Sun Devils were able to capitalize on just 2-of-10 power play opportunities, two of which was 6-on-4 chances. Arizona State, which lost its second MPSF match in two days, did not score on either 6-on-4 power play.
ARIZONA STATE COACH COMPLIMENTS THOMPSON
"San José State came out with a lot of energy and a lot of passion," said Arizona State head coach Todd Clapper. "For the most part, defensively, I thought we were OK. There were some mistakes we made early on, but we couldn't get into any kind of rhythm offensively. That's what hurt us.
"We're having a very difficult time scoring. San José State's goalie played a good game. There were a few crucial times we got free for a high percentage shot and she made a save or we missed the goal. Those could have been turning points for us, but we kept missing or getting blocked."
E.B. Keeve had a busy day in goal for the Sun Devils with nine saves.
"EVERYBODY IS CONTRIBUTING"
"We worked so hard and it shows. Everyone is contributing. It's just paid off," said San José State interim head coach Johnny Bega. "Our defense has been effective for a while now. We've been focusing on it more and we've been playing team defense. Katelynn has been doing a great job. She's brought a lot of fire for us. Every possession, we've been focused on stopping the opponent."
San José State is back in action, Saturday, April 12, against co-#1 ranked UCLA in the Spartans' next-to-last MPSF match. Game time is 3:00 p.m. at the UCLA Spieker Aquatics Complex.
San José State University women's water polo
The Aquatics Center, San José, Calif.
April 6, 2014
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match
|Score By Quarters||1||2||3||4||Total|
|#5-Arizona State (13-8, 1-4 MPSF)||1||1||0||3||5|
|#8-San José State (19-10, 1-3 MPSF)||2||2||2||1||7|
Arizona State - Ao Gao, 3; Alkistis Benekou, Kate Enoka, 1, each.
|San José State - Clara Espar Llaquet, Rae Lekness, Victoria Smith, 2, each; Bianca Seyfert, 1.|
|Arizona State - E.B. Keeve, 9.|
|San José State - Katelynn Thompson, 11.|
|Arizona State - 5.|
|San José State - 13.|