The San Jose State University women's water polo team plays its second top-10 nationally-ranked opponent in a week when the #9-ranked Spartans travel to #6-Arizona State for a key Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match for both teams, Saturday, March 21, at Mona Plummer Pool at 1:00 p.m. (MST).
San Jose State (16-6, 0-2 MPSF) is coming off a hard-fought 10-9 loss in four overtimes to #4-Cal on March 18. The Spartans forced overtime after trailing 8-6 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Arizona State (13-4, 1-1 MPSF) has wins in its last three of four matches after a 10-5 win over #15-Long Beach State on March 15.
Very little separates these teams statistically. Each team is giving up just under 7.50 goals a match. The Spartans have a slight edge offensively scoring 11.91 goals a match compared to the Sun Devils' 10.71.
Each team has two scorers ranked in the top-10 among MPSF players. San Jose State's Clara Espar Llaquet is second in the MPSF with her 3.14 goals scored per match. The sophomore from Barcelona leads the MPSF in goals scored with 69. Teammate Rae Lekness became the fourth San José State player to score 50 or more goals in three different seasons and is sixth in the conference at 2.27 goals per match.
Arizona State's Izabella Chiappini is just ahead of Lekness at 2.35 goals per match to lead the Sun Devils' attack. Alkistis Benekou is eighth among MPSF players with her 36 goals averaging 2.12 goals a match.
San Jose State won last year's meeting between these teams, 7-5 in San Jose, when Espar Llaquet and goalkeeper Katelynn Thompson for San Jose State and Chiappini and Benekou of Arizona State were freshmen. Thompson stopped 11 Sun Devil shots in the win while Espar Llaquet and Lekness were two of the three Spartans to score twice.
The San Jose State-Arizona State match is one of three in two days for the Spartans at the Mona Plummer Pool. Coach Johnny Bega's team wraps up the weekend on March 22 taking on Redlands (2-15) at 8:00 a.m. (MT) and Hartwick (11-15) at 1:00 p.m. (MT) in non-conference action.
Collegiate Water Polo Association weekly coaches poll
March 18, 2015
|5. UC Irvine||79|
|6. Arizona State||70|
|8. Cal State Northridge||67|
|9. San José State||64|
|11. UC Davis||50|
|12. Loyola Marymount||37|
|15. Long Beach State||30|
|16. UC Santa Barbara||24|
|17. San Diego State||23|
|19. UC San Diego||16|
|20. Santa Clara||8|