By Ryan Vermont:
Sometimes time off is a good thing for a team. Sometimes it’s bad.
Time will tell for the San Jose State women’s water polo team that has two games on Saturday following a 12-day stretch with no games.
During the season-opening Lou Strong Invitational which they hosted, the #17-Spartans (1-3) were outscored 49-5 in the first three games of the season against the nation’s elite, but bounced back in the fourth and final game of the with a valiant 10-9 over UC Davis which also ranks in the top 25.
Head Coach Gabor Sarusi said that the lopsided-scoring games like the first few at the Lou Strong Invitational will help the players and team grow over the course of the long season
“We have a young team, even the upperclassmen are a little inexperienced,” Sarusi said. “These are good games for us to really get the experience going and get high level games and this will really help us down the line”
Tomorrow, San Jose State will be one of five programs taking part in the California Speedo Cup I tournament hosted by the University of California, Berkeley. The three other teams besides the host and SJSU are CSU Northridge, UC Davis and Long Beach State.
San Jose State will only be playing #14-Long Beach State (0-0) and #22-CSUN (1-3) and both are teams the Spartans got the better of last year. They beat the 49ers 9-6, and the Matadors 13-8.
In the opening four games, it was clear the team was still going through an adjustment phase dealing with the graduation of SJSU’s all-time leading scorer Rae Lekness.
“Rae is a special one you can’t really replace her, but you can try to get a few freshman and sophomores to step up and cover the 98 goals I think she had last year” Sarusi said. “I don’t think you’re gonna find somebody who can score that many goals in one season but if you can have three or four that’s a good start.”
Two individuals seem to have taken that next step.
Senior Donia Momen scored four goals in the opening weekend, and sophomore Carla Toha Vilanova tacked on three of her own. Three other Spartans each had a pair of goals.
As the season really starts to get going, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the progression of this young Spartans roster.
SJSU first hits the pool at 9 a.m. for its matchup with Long Beach State. It will be the first game of the season for the 49ers.
The second game will be at 2:30 p.m. against Northridge.