Women's Water Polo Loses To USC, 19-8, At MPSF Tournament

Kelli Leabo was one of two Spartans to score twice vs. USC.
April 24, 2015

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Tempe, Ariz.----- Clara Espar Llaquet and Kelli Leabo each scored twice for San Jose State University, but the University of Southern California's first-half power play propelled the Trojans to a 19-8 win over the Spartans in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) women's water polo tournament quarterfinal round match.

USC (22-3) scored four of its first six first-quarter goals on 6-on-5 player advantages to build a 7-2 lead going into the second quarter. Overall, the Trojans converted on 9-of-17 power plays and a 5-meter penalty shot in the win.

"They (USC) executed really well on the power play," said San Jose State head coach Johnny Bega.

The Spartans (19-10) became just the third team this season to score more than six goals in a match against USC. San José State opened the scoring with a Rae Lekness power-play goal 47 seconds into the contest. The Spartans finished a respectable 5-of-12 on their power-play chances.

"We had good opportunities. We had good shots on goal. Their defense is very good," the Spartans' coach added about his team that became just the third this season to score at least eight goals in a match against USC. Only #1-ranked Stanford and #2-ranked UCLA scored more against USC in a contest this season.

"We battled in the first half. I'm proud of the way our team played. We ran into foul trouble in the third quarter. We're not as deep as we'd like to be. We didn't give up and we battled to the end."

The Spartans cut into the Trojans' lead with a strong second quarter and trailed 8-4 at halftime. However, Monica Vavic, the MPSF's leading scorer scored three times in the third quarter to give her 91 on the season, on two power plays and a penalty shot.

Besides Espar Llaquet, Leabo and Lekness, starters Timi Molnar, Victoria Smith and Cara Robinson scored for the Spartans.

San Jose State will take on CSU Bakersfield in a consolation bracket match, Saturday, April 25, 10:30 a.m. (MST/PDT) in the Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex on the Arizona State campus.

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
San Jose State (19-10) 2 2 1 3 8
USC (22-3) 7 1 5 6 19


Goal scoring
San Jose State - Clara Espar Llaquet, Kelli Leabo, 2, each; Rae Lekness, Timi Molnar, Cara Robinson, Victoria Smith, 1, each.
USC - Monica Vavic, Ioanna Harabalidis, Jayde Appel, 3, each; Melissa Bergesen, Hayley McKelvey, Sydney Blubaugh, Eike Daube, Jennifer Stiefel, Stephania Harabalidis, Brianna Daboub, Brigitta Gaines, Avery Peterson, Nikki Stansfield, 1, each.
Goalkeeper Saves
San Jose State - Katelynn Thompson, 8.
USC - Victoria Chamorro, 7; Alegra Hueso, 1.
San Jose State - 18.
USC - 12.