Tempe, Ariz.----- San Jose State University women's water polo reserve attacker Donia Momen scored a backhanded goal in front of the Arizona State cage with 2:48 left in the match giving the Spartans a 9-8 victory over the Sun Devils in the fifth-place match of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Tournament.
Momen's goal was her first of the three-day, three-game tournament for San Jose State (21-10), which notched its best MPSF finish since finishing fourth in 2011.
"We worked on this play in practice. Either I was too far away or too wide. This time I knew exactly where to go when I got it (the pass). It was my shot and it was perfectly executed," said the lefthanded Momen, who scored her 13th goal of the season. Primarily an outside shooter, she could not recall scoring a backhanded goal in 2015.
Playing much of the final quarter with team and personal foul problems, the Spartans survived Arizona State's eventual 6-on-4 power-play advantage in the final five seconds. San Jose State goalkeeper Katelynn Thompson stopped a skip shot to her left by Arizona State's Claudia Abad at the buzzer for the victory.
The match pitting the #7-nationally-ranked Sun Devils and #8-Spatans had four lead changes. San José State broke a 2-2 tie with a three-goal spurt in a 73-second span of the second quarter for a 5-2 lead. Arizona State (16-10) then scored the next four for its first lead of the match, 6-5, since the opening four minutes of the contest.
Rae Lekness of San Jose State scored her only goal to open the fourth quarter scoring at 7:27 breaking a 7-7 tie. Arizona State's Lena Mihalovic answered with the Sun Devils' seventh power-play goal of match at 3:01 tying the score at 8-8 and setting the stage for Momen's game winning goal.
Bianca Seyfert led the Spartans in scoring with three and made the pass into Momen for the decisive score. Seyfert now has 50 goals on the season - the 25th time a San Jose State player reached that plateau. Timi Molnar fired in two more before fouling out at 0:08. Clara Espar Llaquet started the Spartans' second-quarter outburst with her 94th of the season and was the second of three starters and four San Jose State players to foul out.
"There was a lot of pressure on both teams," Seyfert described. She was the only San Jose State starter that had not fouled out or had two out of an allowable three fouls when the match ended. "It's really tough playing them at home. We played our hearts out.
"It didn't hurt us. Everyone stepped up for one another," she said about the foul problems. "Everyone was on the same page. It was a perfect day for the Spartans."
Thompson was credited with eight saves, six of them coming in the second half. Her long pass to Seyfert midway through the second quarter resulted in the goal giving San Jose State its 5-2 lead.
Arizona State's Izabella Chiappini matched Seyfert for game-high scoring honors with three - all on power plays. The Sun Devils were 7-for-17 on power play chances.
"(Today) was pure determination by the team. They believed and they believed in each other. Everyone pitched in. They played with everything they had. That's for sure," said San Jose State head coach Johnny Bega.
The win left the Spartans one shy of matching the single-season school record of 22 in the 2000 season.
|Score By Quarters||1||2||3||4||Total|
|San Jose State (21-10)||2||3||2||2||9|
|Arizona State (16-10)||2||2||3||1||8|
|San José State - Bianca Seyfert, 3; Timi Molnar, 2; Clara Espar Llaquet, Rae Lekness, Cara Robinson, Donia Momen, 1 each.|
|Arizona State - Izabella Chiappini, 3; Lena Mihalovic, 2; Daisy Carter, Claudia Abad, Kayla Casas, 1, each.|
|San José State - Katelynn Thompson, 9.|
|Arizona State - E.B. Keeve, 11.|
|San José State - 18.|
|Arizona State - 7.|