On a sunny afternoon when a duck settled in The Aquatic Center pool and stopped the start of the second quarter, the San Jose State University women’s water polo team scored eight goals in a match for the first time in its 15-year series with UCLA.
However, the ninth-ranked Spartans were unable to withstand #4-ranked UCLA’s steady offense in a 15-8 loss in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contest.
San Jose State (10-8, 0-3 MPSF) had its two-match winning streak snapped while UCLA (20-3, 3-1 MPSF) won its fourth in a row.
Sophomore Timi Molnar led the Spartans in scoring with three goals, all in the second half. Senior Anna Natalizio was San Jose State’s other multiple goal scorer in the match with two.
The Spartans had even more good early scoring chances. Four times in the first half, the Spartans hit the UCLA goalkeeper cage and Bruins’ goalkeeper Sami Hill, who made seven saves, stopped a first-quarter penalty shot by Rae Lekness.
UCLA’s Emily Donohoe, the Bruins leading scorer, poured in six goals, four of them in the second half.
“I thought we played better. It definitely was a better effort than when we played (#1)-USC and (#2)-Stanford. UCLA is a very good team,” said San Jose State coach Lou Tully about his team that is one of four opponents to score eight or more goals in a 2013 match against the Bruins.
San Jose State scored the opening goal on a shot by Lekness 12 seconds into the match and was tied 2-2 in the first quarter following Natalizio’s first score. Three straight UCLA goals, the first two by Alexa Tielmann, set the pace for the Bruins’ victory.
“The first quarter was kind of hard to take, because we missed the 5-meter (penalty shot) which we normally don’t do and we gave up a couple of easy goals. I’m more concerned about our defense than our offense,” said the Spartans’ head coach. “We scored eight goals and that is enough to win a game, but you cannot give up 15 goals.
“We had stuff that went in that should not have gone in, shots taken that they should not have executed. We definitely have a lot of work to do on defense. We have to get stronger on defense.”
Maddie Reardon was busy in goal for San Jose State with eight saves.
“I think the fact that we let a couple of goals go in (early) kind of get to us. We were down, 7-3, going into the third (quarter) and that should have been when we played our hardest. But, instead, they scored two quick goals and that knocked us off balance,” said Natalizio.
San Jose State continues conference action Saturday, April 6, hosting #5-ranked California in a 12:00 p.m. match at The Aquatics Center on the San Jose State campus.
|Score by Quarters||1||2||3||4||Total|
|#4-UCLA (20-3, 3-1 MPSF)||4||3||4||4||15|
|#9-San Jose State (10-8, 0-3 MPSF)||2||1||2||3||8|
UCLA – Emily Donohoe, 6; Alex Tielmann, Rachel Fattal, 2, each; Alys Williams, Danielle Ferraro, Kelly Ronimus, Giselle Naranjo, Victoria, Kent, 1, each.
San Jose State – Timi Molnar, 3; Anna Natalizio, 2; Rachel Henry, Victoria Smith, Rae Lekness, 1, each.
UCLA – Sami Hill, 7.
San Jose State – Maddie Reardon, 8.