John Shaffer

Spartans In Golden Coast Conference Tournament Semifinals

IRVINE, Calif.-----  Powered by five unanswered goals covering the second and third quarters, San Jose State University defeated Pepperdine University, 10-8, in a Golden Coast Conference (GCC) men's water tournament quarterfinal round match at the Anteater Aquatics Center on the UC Irvine campus.
With their first conference tournament win in six years, the Spartans advance to the GCC semifinals to face top-seeded Long Beach State in a Saturday, November 20, 7:00 p.m. match. The winner advances to the Sunday, November 21, championship match.

"We're really proud of our depth. It was a real team effort and Yahav (Fire) had a terrific night, too. He made five or six great saves. So, we could not have done it without him. But, that's been the story for us the last four years," San Jose State men's water head coach Bruce Watson said.
San Jose State (16-14) broke a 4-4 second-quarter tie with five different players scoring once for a 9-4 lead with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter. The Spartans scored three of their four power-play goals of the match during the rally. Utku Karhan broke the 4-4 tie with a power-play score at 2:19 before halftime.  Karhan found the cage for the first time in four matches.
Tomasso Ramacciotti followed with a power-play score at 1:49 and Marko Radanovich closed out the half for the surging Spartans with an even strength goal, his second of the match, and a 7-4 halftime.

"We finally got our focus. 'This is what we are running. Everybody get on the same page and listen.' So, it kind of worked out for the better later in the game," said Watson about the 6-on-5 power play coming to life.
Neils Hofmeijer kept the rally going in the third quarter with a skip shot into the cage and Bence Szabo notched the final goal of the extended rally on a power play. San Jose State only was 4-of-12 on the power play.
Pepperdine (14-14) scored four of the last five goals in the match to close the gap, but Mark Kis' score with 5:48 in the fourth quarter was the insurance San Jose State needed to defeat the Waves for the third time in 2021.
Yahav Fire of the Spartans showed why he was the conference's first-team goalkeeper making 14 saves in the triumph. Pepperdine goalkeeper John-Claude Marco also played well stopping 12 shots.
San Jose State won despite Bende Pardi and Laszlo Szieben, its top two scorers on the season, going scoreless. Neil Arnett was a seventh Spartan to score in the win. His early second-quarter power play goal tied the match at 2-2.
The win ensured San Jose State of its first winning season and marks the most wins in a season since the program was reinstated in 2015.
San Jose State University men's water polo
No.4-seed San Jose State vs. No.5-seed Pepperdine
Anteater Aquatics Complex, Irvine, Calif.
November 19, 2021
Golden Coast Conference Tournament opening round

Score by Quarters Total
No.5-Pepperdine (14-14) 2-2-1-3 8
No.4-San Jose State (16-14)  1-6-2-1 10
Goal scoring
Pepperdine – Jake Howerton, Kaden Kaneko, 2, each; Nicholas Fichman, Nico Tierney, Anthony D'Ambra, Sean Ferrari, 1, each.
San Jose State – Marko Radanovich, Niels Hofmeijer, Bence Szabo, 2, each; Utku Karhan, Neil Arnett, Tomasso Ramacciotti, Mark Kis, 1, each.
Goalkeeper saves
Pepperdine – John Claude Marco – 12.
San Jose State – Yahav Fire – 14.
Pepperdine – 12.
San Jose State – 7.