Tempe, Ariz.----- San José State University women's water polo sophomores Clara Espar Llaquet and Katelynn Thompson were dominant at both ends of the pool as the Spartans defeated CSU Bakersfield, 15-7, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Tournament elimination match.
Espar Llaquet tied her own single-match school record with nine goals scoring in every quarter. The Barcelona, Spain, native scored twice in the first and second quarters, four times in the third, and once in the fourth. Earlier in the season, Espar Llaquet scored nine times in a March 7 win over Iona in the Harvard Invitational.
"I was in the right spot at the right time. My teammates did a real good job of getting the ball to me and I had to put it away," said the Spartans' season scoring leader, who had a 9-of-11 day shooting.
"I had been missing my lobs, so I decided to go with my hard shots and it worked," added Espar Llaquet, who now has 93 goals for the season and became the first San José State and MPSF player to record 90 or more goals in consecutive seasons.
The Spartans (20-10) led the entire way in part with one of their best defensive efforts of the season. San Jose State led 4-2 after the first quarter, 7-3 at halftime and three nine-goal leads in the contest. CSU Bakersfield (12-17) went scoreless for 16:07 between the second and fourth quarters.
Thompson played a major role in goal for San Jose State with 11 saves. One came on a third-quarter penalty shot during CSU Bakersfield's mid-game scoring drought.
"The entire team stepped up and our defense really made it tough for them to get good shots," said San Jose State head coach Johnny Bega. "Katelynn was in the right place at the right time. Her timing was good. Her anticipation was good and she would get her hands on the ball."
"Katelynn had an awesome game," Espar Llaquet said about her teammate who raised her season saves total to 205.
San Jose State's Rae Lekness and Cara Robinson pestered the Roadrunners with their offense for the second time in eight days. Lekness opened the scoring in the first quarter and finished with her second "hat trick" of the year against CSU Bakersfield. Robinson, who also scored three times against the Roadrunners on April 18, pumped in two more in the MPSF Tournament win.
Senior Victoria Smith accounted for the final San Jose State goal giving the Spartans back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history.
San Jose State will play host Arizona State, Sunday, April 26, for fifth-place in the MPSF Tournament. The Spartans lost a 12-4 decision to the Sun Devils in a March 21 conference contest.
|Score By Quarters||1||2||3||4||Total|
|CSU Bakersfield (12-17)||2||1||0||4||7|
|San Jose State (20-10)||4||3||5||3||15|
|CSU Bakersfield - Bridgette Souza, 3; Nicola Barrett, 2; Kristin Jensen, Tancy Aldridge, 1, each.|
|San José State - Clara Espar Llaquet, 9; Rae Lekness, 3; Cara Robinson, 2; Victoria Smith, 1.|
|CSU Bakersfield - Brittany Tyra, 6; Courtney Wahlstrom, 1.|
|San Jose State - Katelynn Thompson (3.5 quarters), 11; Tayler Peters (0.5 quarters), 2.|
|CSU Bakersfield - 9.|
|San Jose State - 9.|