Andy Kang

Spartans Split With #5-Pepperdine

            San Jose State University and Pepperdine University split a pair of Golden Coast Conference (GCC) men's water polo matches by identical 11-8 scores at the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC) on the San Jose State campus.
            #5-ranked Pepperdine (10-3, 3-1 GCC) won the opener and the unranked Spartans (2-5, 1-3 GCC) captured the afternoon contest. In each case, the winning team was able to pull away from the other in the fourth quarter for the victory.
            The San Jose State win marked the program's first triumph over a top-5 ranked team nationally since reinstatement beginning in 2015 after a 34-year hiatus.
            "It was the first time in a long time we beat Pepperdine and they're ranked fifth. We missed a lot of shots in the morning that we made in the afternoon. Guys got their confidence and played better. It was neat to see," said San Jose State men's water polo head coach Bruce Watson, who also pointed to Yahav Fire's leadership from the goalkeeper position as a Spartan asset.
            Freshman Gal Haimovich sparked the Spartans' win with a pair of goals 30 seconds apart late in the third quarter to break a 4-4 tie. The match was tied, 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, and 4-4, before Haimovich put San Jose State ahead to stay.
            Teammates Finn Pardon and Mark Kis added to Haimovich's offensive explosion giving San Jose State an 8-4 lead with 4:21 left in the match. Pepperdine's Sean Ferrari and Curtis Jarvis, the match's high scorer with three goals, combined for three quick scores in a 0:55 span before Pardon and his teammate Connor MacMillan doused the Waves' rally with a pair of unanswered goals.
            Fire stopped 11 Pepperdine shots in the victory and Kent Emden of the Waves had a single-match career high 18 saves in the loss. Fire closed out the match scoring firing a long shot into an empty Pepperdine net for his first score of the season.
            The opener was similar to the second game with the teams tied at 6-6 midway through the third quarter, the fifth tie of the match, after Kis' second goal of the morning. Pepperdine went on to score three unanswered goals en route to its 11-8 win.
            Kis, Pardon and Ben Hauschild each scored twice for San Jose State in the morning loss.
            Fire stopped eight shots including a penalty shot in the first half which accounted for the teams going into halftime tied, 5-5.
            The two teams conclude their three-game conference series with a Noon match at the SRAC. Due to COVID-19 protocols, spectators will not be able to watch the match in person.
San Jose State University men's water polo
San Jose State vs. #5-Pepperdine
SRAC, San Jose, Calif.
March 6, 2021

Match #1 - score by quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
#5-Pepperdine (10-2, 3-0 GCC) 2 3 2 4 11
San José State (1-5, 1-3 GCC) 1 4 1 2 8
Goal scoring
Pepperdine – Kaden Kaneko, 3; Christian Hosea, 2; Nicholas Fichmann, Michael Dakis, Sean Ferrari, Austin Smit, Balacz Kosa, Curtis Jarvis, 1, each.
San José State – Finn Pardon, Mark Kis, Ben Hauschild, 2, each; Connor Macmillan, Gal Haimovich, 1, each.
Goalkeeper saves
Pepperdine – Kent Emden – 10.
San Jose State – Yahav Fire – 8.
Pepperdine – 12.
San Jose State – 13.
Match #2 - score by quarters 1 1 1 1 Total
#5-Pepperdine (10-3, 3-1 GCC) 1 2 1 4 8
San José State (2-5, 1-3 GCC) 1 2 4 4 11
Goal scoring
Pepperdine – Curtis Jarvis, 3; Christian Hosea, 2; Nicholas Fichmann, Sean Ferrari, Austin Smit, Balacz Kosa, 1, each.
San Jose State – Finn Pardon, 3; Mark Kis, Gal Haimovich, 2, each; Connor Macmillan, Guillermo Aguirre, Niels Hofmeijer, Yahav Fire, 1, each.
Goalkeeper saves
Pepperdine – Kent Emden – 18.
San Jose State – Yahav Fire – 11.
Pepperdine – 11.
San Jose State – 9.