April 29, 2014
Woodland, Calif.----- San Jose State University women's water polo interim head coach Johnny Bega was named the 2014 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Coach of the Year in a vote of the league's seven coaches.
Bega took over the Spartans in December 2013, one month before the season started following the untimely death of longtime head coach Lou Tully at age 70 due to complications from cancer treatment.
The 2014 San Jose State team completed a record-setting season as the highest scoring team in school history scoring 393 goals and the first Spartan squad with a positive goal differential in excess of 70 with a +109 figure.
This team became the fourth in the program's 18-year history to win 20 matches in a season with a 20-13 win-loss record. During the season, the Spartans, ranked seventh nationally in the April 23 national coaches' poll, defeated three top-10 ranked opponents and lost by one goal to five teams ranked in the top-10 at the time of the match.
"I think this award goes to our team. It shows what our team accomplished this year. This team stayed together the entire year and did everything asked of them," said Bega, a member of the coaching staff since 2007.
"Also, this award is a huge tribute to Lou Tully. It was his team for many years. His work mentoring me and his love for the program were instrumental. It couldn't have happened without him."
Bega's Coach of the Year honor is one of five post-season conference awards. Freshman Clara Espar Llaquet was named a second-team All-MPSF selection and to the All-Newcomer team. Junior Timi Molnar joined Espar Llaquet as a second-team All-MPSF choice. Sophomore Rae Lekness received honorable mention All-MPSF recognition.
"They are all very deserving. Clara and Timi were the heart and soul of our team the entire year. Timi is our leader who had a great couple of years for us. Clara, scoring in every match is a phenomenal feat. Rae played center for us all year and took a lot from our opponents, came through and helped us run our offense. She did a great job for us and she will keep getting better," Bega said about his all-conference award winners.
Espar Llaquet set a San Jose State single-season scoring record with 96 goals, was second in the conference in scoring and scored in all 33 contests.
Molnar and Lekness earned second-team and honorable mention All-MPSF honors, respectively, for the second year in a row. Molnar became the fourth player at San Jose State to score at least 50 goals in a season with her 50 in 2014. Lekness was fourth in the conference and second on the team in scoring with 76 goals.