With its new coach and temporary home, the San Jose State University women's water polo team opens its 2017 season in a traditional manner hosting the third annual LouStrong Invitational, January 14 & 15.
Twelve matches will be played at the West Valley College Aquatics Center in Saratoga, Calif. Seven January 14 contests start at 8:30 a.m. with #14-ranked San Jose State hosting Stanford ranked #1 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association's preseason coaches poll. An exhibition match between Stanford and #3-ranked UCLA at 8:00 a.m. is the first of five matches.
#4-Cal, #12-Pacific, #17-UC Davis and a Canadian National Team round out the seven teams in this year's LouStrong Invitational field.
There are seven members of the 2016 U.S. women's water polo national team getting their start on the 2017 college season -- Rachel Fattal, Kodi Hill, Maddie Musselman and Alys Williams of UCLA; and Makenzie Fischer, Maggie Steffens and Gabby Stone of Stanford. Fattal, Musselman, Steffens and Fischer played on the USA's Olympic gold-medal winning team.
Cal's Roser Tarrago of Spain and Dora Antal and Anna Ilies of Hungary, and UCLA's Bronte Halligan of Australia also were 2016 Olympians.
New Spartans head coach Gabor Sarusi has 13 returning letterwinners. Sophomore Carla Toha Vilanova, who topped all Mountain Pacific Sports Federation freshmen with 53 goals last year, and senior Donia Momen, with 37, return as two of the team's top scoring threats. McKenna Yates and co-captain Cara Robinson, with 28 and 26 goals, respectively had their best season finding the cage for scores in 2016.
Sarusi can call on experienced goalkeepers Tayler Peters, the Spartans' other co-captain, and Katelynn Thompson, fourth on the school's career list for goalkeeper saves with 318. Together, they have 60 starts between them in the last three seasons.
There is no admission charge for any of the 12 LouStrong Invitational matches. Parking at West Valley College is $3.00 per vehicle.
The complete schedule and tournament information is available at the LouStrong Invitational Tournament Central page.