April 9, 2014
Bridgeport, Pa.----- With its highest national ranking of the season, the San José State University women's water polo team takes on #2-UCLA, Saturday, April 12, in a 2:30 p.m. Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contest.
The Spartans (19-10, 1-3 MPSF) are tied for sixth in the April 9 Collegiate Water Polo Association national coaches poll. The last time the program was ranked as high was on February 1, 2012 when the team was ranked fifth the second week of the season.
Winners of six of their last seven, San José State moved up two spots after defeating previously #5-ranked Arizona State, 7-5, on April 6. Arizona State dropped to a sixth-place tie with the Spartans after the loss.
With its fourth move up the poll in the last six weeks, San José State seeks its first win in 31 meetings with #2-UCLA. The Bruins topped the Spartans, 14-6, when the teams met earlier this season at the Stanford Invitational. The last time these teams met at the Spieker Aquatics Complex on the UCLA campus, the Bruins outlasted the Spartans, 7-5 in 2012, the closest contest between the two teams.
UCLA (21-2, 3-0 MPSF) has a busy weekend hosting #1-Stanford on April 11 before taking on the Spartans the next day. The Bruins have a six-match winning streak after defeating Bakersfield, 14-8, in a MPSF match on April 5.
Despite being on a school-record pace for scoring in a season, San José State will have to figure out one of the top defenses nationally if the Spartans are to come away with a win. The Bruins are second in the MPSF in goals allowed at a measly 5.70 per match. No UCLA opponent scored more than eight goals during the Bruins' current winning streak. San José State heads into the UCLA contest averaging 12.34 scores a match.
For the third week in a row, San José State freshman Clara Espar Llaquet and sophomore Rae Leknessare, two and four, respectively, in goals scored per match. Espar Llaquet leads the MPSF in overall scoring with 90 and Lekness is next with 73.
Freshman Katelynn Thompson, the current MPSF Player of the Week, is giving San José State a big boost in goal. The starter in the last seven Spartan matches, Thompson equaled her season high of 11 saves in the 7-5 Arizona State win. The five goals allowed were the fewest scored by a San José State opponent in a MPSF match in two years. She heads into the UCLA match allowing 5.60 goals per match, just behind UCLA's outstanding goalkeeper Sami Hill, who has a 4.77 goals against average.
Collegiate Water Polo Association weekly national coaches' poll
April 9, 2014
|3. Southern California
|5. UC Irvine
|6. San José State
|8. Cal State Northridge
|11. Long Beach State
|12. UC San Diego
|13. Loyola Marymount
|15. UC Santa Barbara
|16. UC Davis
|19. Santa Clara
|20. San Diego State