By Lindsey Boyd:
The sun got a wake up call from the refs’ sharp whistle blows today as the aquatic showdown between San Jose State and the #3-ranked UCLA Bruins was played.
Women’s water polo got burnt 24-2.
The Spartans (6-10, 0-0 MPSF) plunged into the water with high spirits coming off of last weekend’s Barbara Kalbus Invitational where they beat #9 ranked UC Santa Barbara.
SJSU was quickly reminded of their last game against UCLA (11-1, 0-0 MPSF) when they lost 20-1. The Bruins scored the first goal of the match with only 29 seconds shaved off the clock.
“We were not ready for this level mentally,” said head coach Gabor Sarusi. “I was expecting to play a little bit better game when it comes to team aspects of the game like defense and power play.”
The sound of the buzzer brought an end to the first half and the Spartans remained scoreless. The scoreboard read 14-0.
“I thought they were definitely improving,” said UCLA head coach Brandon Brooks about SJSU.
The Spartans had to remember that they weren’t swimming with sharks. They were competing against 2016 Olympic gold medalists. Maddie Musselmann tallied four goals while Rachel Fittal added two. Fittal scored the same amount as the Spartans did in the entire match.
“It’s definitely a confidence check.” said Goalkeeper Tayler Peters when asked what it’s like playing against Olympians. “They are Olympic athletes but you are also a D1 athlete who can beat them.”
The Spartans may have gotten a dose of deja vu while playing the Bruins again, but Co-Captain Cara Robinson knows the experiences will only help.
“I think it’s always the best to be in a conference with the best teams in the nation. It’s nice to know how you stack up against the best. But it’s also a learning opportunity.” Robinson said.
Klaudia Paradi and Donia Momen scored in the final quarter to put the Spartans on the board.
SJSU will pounce back into the water with on Mar. 11 against Indiana University.