After two weekends off, the #8 nationally-ranked San Jose State University women's water polo team returns to action Saturday, February 21 for the first of two days and four matches at the UC Irvine Invitational.
The Spartans (9-3) begin the UC Irvine Invitational with #9-ranked Cal State Northridge (9-5) at 9:15 a.m. The winner of that match takes on either #1-ranked Stanford or #19-ranked Pacific in an afternoon contest. San Jose State concludes play with two more matches against top-20 ranked opponents on Sunday, February 22. This year's UC Irvine Invitational attracted the top 10 teams in the country and #13-UC Davis, #14-Michigan, #16-UC San Diego, #18-UC Santa Barbara, Pacific and #20-Loyola Marymount.
San Jose State owns a victory over Cal State Northridge this season. The Spartans edged the Matadors, 8-6, in the UCSB Winter Invite on January 23.
Coach Johnny Bega's team last was in the water at the Stanford Invitational on February 1. The Spartans finished sixth in the eight-team tournament after a 12-10 overtime loss to Hawaii, ranked #7 in the February 18 coaches national poll.
When San José State topped Cal State Northridge earlier in the season, senior Timi Molnar led the offensive charge with three goals. The two-time team captain enters the UC Irvine Invitational with 194 career goals and is bidding to become the fourth Spartan to reach the 200-goal plateau.
Junior Rae Lekness is the team's leading scorer with 33 goals and ranks fourth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) in scoring at 2.75 goals per contest. Clara Espar Llaquet is seventh; Bianca Seyfert, 18th; and Victoria Smith, 21st among the MPSF's top-25 scorers.
Goalkeeper Katelynn Thompson made nine saves in the Cal State Northridge win on January 23. She ranks third in the conference in saves per match at 8.96 and seventh in goals allowed average at 7.14.
Collegiate Water Polo Coaches Association weekly coaches' poll
February 18, 2015
|3. Southern California||91|
|5. UC Irvine||80|
|6. Arizona State||74|
|8. San José State||65|
|9. Cal State Northridge||60|
|10. San Diego State||50|
|13. UC Davis||39|
|15. Long Beach State||29|
|16. UC San Diego||23|
|18. UC Santa Barbara||14|
|20. Loyola Marymount||10|