San Jose, Calif. -- The No.8 San Jose State University women’s water polo team split two games, losing to No. 2 UCLA, 14-6, and beating Cal State Monterey Bay 13-11, on Sunday, April 15. Kayleigh Knight, who scored five goals in the second game, highlighted the day.
In the first game, the Spartans (14-10, 6-5 MPSF) started off strong against conference opponent UCLA (21-2, 10-1 MPSF). SJSU got on the board first with a Deanna Lowry first-quarter goal. The Spartans kept the pressure up, and SJSU and went into halftime down only three goals to the No. 2 team in the nation. In the third quarter, SJSU struggled, giving up five Bruin goals. The Spartans tried to rally back in the fourth quarter by putting three more balls into the net, but eventually fell 14-6, ending their upset bid.
Although disappointed in the loss, Spartan head coach, Lou Tully, was pleased with the effort, “They (UCLA) are the second best team in the country. We played fairly well in the beginning, but as the game wore on, it got out of our control. We played hard trying to comeback, but it just wasn’t enough.” Tully added, “Even though we are not at their level at this point, we hope to be there soon. I look forward to playing them again.”
Saturday’s match ended the Spartan’s seven-game winning streak, which was a school record. Before Saturday’s loss, the Spartans last defeat was on March 4, against No. 11 Arizona State. During the streak, the Spartans beat five ranked opponents, including No. 4 UC Irvine, and outscored the opposition, 100-50.
Deanna Lowry led SJSU with three goals, giving the senior 67 career goals, which is 11th all-time. Bridgett McKee scored twice to give utility player 27 goals in her first season, while Geraldine Hazlett also added a goal.
In the second game, the Spartan newcomers stole the show when Jenni Peters and Katleigh Knight combined for nine goals in a 13-11 victory over CSU Monterey Bay.
SJSU started fast, scoring 15 seconds into the first period. With Peters and Knight combining for five first-half goals, the Spartans went into halftime with a 7-2 advantage. The Otters stormed back, trimming the Spartan lead to one twice in the fourth quarter, but Knight and Peters proved to be too much for the Otters, scoring the last three goals to seal the 13-11 victory for the Spartans.
Knight, a junior college All-American transfer, scored five times for the Spartans. Knight becomes only the 10th Spartan to score five or more times in a match, setting a new personal-best. Knight also becomes the fourth Spartan this season to score five or more goals in a match. On Knight’s record performance, Tully said, “Kayleigh is a strong shooter. We are working on her quickness, but her outside shooting is very good.”
Peters also set a career high with four goals. The freshman from San Jose, Calif., entered the day with three goals on the season. On the breakout day by Peters, Tully added, “Jenni is a smart player, she has a great understanding of the game.” Sara Natalizio scored twice in her final game at the Aquatics Center, while Kathryn Hannum and Kristy Cardone added one goal apiece.
On a day that featured the last home game for five seniors, Tully was excited to see two newcomers have career days, “We are losing some real impact players, but we have strong players to step up for the team.”
The Spartans will next travel to Stanford to take on the Cardinal on Saturday April 21, at 1:00 p.m. It will be the final regular season match for SJSU before they travel to Tempe, Ariz., for the MPSF tournament the following week.
No. 2 UCLA 12, No. 8 San Jose State 6
Team 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
San Jose Sate (14-10) 1 2 0 3 6
UCLA (21-2) 3 3 5 3 14
SJSU Deanna Lowry-3, Bridget McKee-2, Geraldine Hazlett
UCLA KatieRulon-6, Kelly Rulon-4, Gandy-2, Rowe, Kunkel-1
No 8 San Jose State 13, CSU Monterey Bay 11
Team 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
San Jose State (14-10) 4 3 2 4 13
CS Monterey Bay (15-16) 2 0 3 6
SJSU Kayleigh Knight-5, Jenni Peters-4, Sara Natalizio-2, Kathryn Hannum, Kristy Cardone-1
CSMB Laning-6, Burke, Kekuewa-2, Thompson-1