The young San Jose State University women’s water polo team will see how quickly they grew up and together during non-conference action when it hosts Stanford University in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) opener for both teams. Saturday, March 5, at The Aquatics Center.
With nine first-time freshmen and two redshirt freshmen making more than half of the 21-woman team, the Spartans (9-8) are facing Stanford (12-2) for the third time this season. The two first met in San Jose State’s LouStrong Memorial the opening weekend of the season. The Cardinal posted a 10-5 victory and followed up with a 17-8 triumph over the Spartans in the Stanford Invitational on February 6.
Both teams competed in the recent UC Irvine Invitational. San Jose State was tenth while Stanford was third in the 16-team tournament. Spartan newcomer Carla Toha Vilanova set a single-game school scoring record for San Jose State freshmen with seven goals in a 14-13 win over San Diego State. Toha Vilanova’s record-setting performance also matches the most goals in a contest by a MPSF player.
Toha Vilanova ranks 12th in the MPSF in scoring with 27 goals and has five goals against Stanford this season. Teammate Rae Lekness is the Spartans and the MPSF’s scoring leader with 52 goals, nearly twice that of Toha Vilanova. Lekness scored three times in the first two meetings between these teams.
San Jose State head coach Johnny Bega also hopes the Spartans’ recent improvement defensively carries over to the start of MPSF action. San Jose State yielded 13 goals in its final two UC Irvine Invitational contests after allowing 27 on day one.
Stanford goalkeeper Julia Hermann set a personal single-match best of 17 saves in the most recent meeting between these teams. The Cardinal has five players among the MPSF’s top-25 goal scorers. Jamie Neushul leads Stanford with 26 goals.
The Spartans can choose from Alicia Magliocco and Tayler Peters as their number-one goalkeeper. Peters played the entire match in the first meeting and the two goalkeepers split action in front of the cage for the most recent contest.
There is no admission charge for women’s water polo at The Aquatics Center. Grandstand seating at The Aquatics Center is on a first-come, first-served basis.