No. 7 Water Polo Topped By No. 6 Cal, 9-4

San Jose, Calif. - Seventh-ranked San Jose State University produced back-to-back goals to close to within one at 5-4 in the third period, but four unanswered scores by sixth-ranked University of California gave the visiting Golden Bears a 9-4 victory in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women’s water polo action at The Aquatics Center on Saturday, February 14.

With the loss, San Jose State falls to 7-5 overall and an even 1-1 in conference play. California remains perfect at 13-0 overall and now 1-0 in the MPSF following its league opener.

The Spartans were coming off a stretch the week before where they had defeated a pair of top-seven foes in then-fourth-ranked Hawai’i in its last home game on February 4, 10-8 in overtime, and then-seventh-ranked Arizona State at the Stanford Invitational on February 8, 11-6. San Jose State thus moved up from No. 10 to No. 7 in the national rankings.

On Saturday, the Spartans got consecutive goals from junior Kathryn Hannum at the 3:30 mark of the third period and sophomore Adriana Vogt with just 49 seconds remaining in the quarter, to pull back to within a score at 5-4, triggering thoughts of the triumph over Hawai’i, when they out-scored the Rainbow Wahine 8-1 to overturn a 7-2 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.

A comeback in this one was not to be, however, as the Golden Bears found just enough time to make it a 6-4 game after three, with junior Camille Hewko tallying her second of the afternoon for Cal with 22 ticks still left. California then went on to get goals from junior Meghan Corso, the daughter of head coach Richard Corso, and freshmen Emily Csikos and Libby McLaren, to turn away the upset bid. Corso's score was on a 6-on-5.

The contest featured a scoreless first period. Vogt tested freshman Cal goalie Stephanie Peckham with a pair of early shots, with Spartan freshman Dani Curran forcing a late save as well. In between, a shot by Cal freshman Athina Vazeos smacked off the crossbar above SJSU goalie Meagan Minson, herself a first-year collegiate player. The Riverside, Calif., product saved a Paige Lorenz effort as time expired.

California finally opened the scoring at the 7:02 mark of the second period, with Hewko finding the target straight on from about eight yards out. Junior Stephanie Schnugg extended the advantage less than a minute later at 6:24, tapping a pass inside from the left from Hewko, into the cage to the far corner.

A short time later, San Jose State junior Bridget McKee’s shot hit the left post. Csikos’ first goal of the day came at the 44-second mark on a 6-on-5. Spartan senior and San Jose native Juliet Moss put her side on the board exactly 10 seconds later with a shot into the right corner from about 10 yards.

Coming out of the halftime break down by the score of 3-1, the Spartans earned a five-meter penalty shot just 39 seconds in, with Curran converting for her team-leading 28th goal of what has been a sparkling rookie campaign thus far for the Chino, Calif., native, and a one-goal deficit at 3-2.

At 6:45, however, Corso banged her shot off the right post and in, for 4-2, and at 3:57, junior Julie Oreglia took a cross-pool pass from the left from Csikos and scored for a 5-2 Cal lead.

Hannum’s man-advantage goal, from six yards, narrowly found its way into the net after taking a deflection, before Vogt snuck her close-range shot in past Peckham on the near side.

Curran, Hannum, Moss and Vogt accounted for the Spartan scoring on the day. Csikos, Corso and Hewko each tallied a pair of goals for Cal, with Oreglia, McLaren and Schnugg adding single goals. Minson and Peckham played all 32 minutes in the cage for their respective sides.

San Jose State heads south to Irvine, Calif., next weekend, to participate in the UC Irvine Invitational. The Spartans will open the tournament against Loyola Marymount University at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, February 21.

SCORING SUMMARY
#6 California (13-0, 1-0 MPSF) - 0 3 3 3 - 9
#7 San Jose State (7-5, 1-1 MPSF) - 0 1 3 0 - 4

Goal Scoring
CAL - Emily Csikos-2, Meghan Corso-2, Camille Hewko-2, Julie Oreglia, Libby McLaren, Stephanie Schnugg.
SJSU - Dani Curran, Kathryn Hannum, Adriana Vogt, Juliet Moss.