Water polo recap: Second-half drought dooms Rams in semis

The Rams will face No. 3 seed Santa Clara in Sunday's third-place game, looking for the program's best Championships finish.

The Rams will face No. 3 seed Santa Clara in Sunday's third-place game, looking for the program's best Championships finish.

April 27, 2013

CSU-UC San Diego Box Score | WWPA Championships Central | Tournament Preview

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – For one half, the Colorado State water polo team held its ground against one of the top teams in the nation, but a big UC San Diego run gave the Tritons a 14-6 victory over the Rams in Saturday’s semifinal game of the WWPA Championships.

“Our girls, hands down, played the best half of water polo I’ve seen them play all season in the first half,” associate head coach Mike Moody said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep that going for the entire game.”

UCSD (24-13, 7-0 WWPA), the conference’s top seed and ranked No. 13 nationally, will advance to Sunday’s championship game against No. 2 Loyola Marymount, who beat Santa Clara, 8-5, on Saturday. The Rams (9-20, 4-3 WWPA) will play for third place against host and No. 3 seed Santa Clara.

After the Tritons jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the first frame, CSU responded with a pair of goals from freshman Ariel Arcidiacono and junior Stephanie Weed. Moments later, the Rams tied the score at 4-4, and after a quick Tritons goal, the Rams responded with another goal, bringing the score to 5-5 with 3 minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the first half.

“The girls played exceptionally well in the first half,” Moody said. “They executed the game plan to a T. It was a great first half, and we were neck and neck with one of the best teams in the country.”

UCSD would score twice more before halftime, however, and five times in the third period, all part of a 9-0 Tritons run. CSU was limited to one goal in the final 19:28, with its lone goal coming with 39 seconds remaining in the contest.

“You don’t become the No. 1 seed and the 13th-best team in the nation without having persistence,” Moody said. “UCSD kept chipping away, chipping away, and the next thing you know, they’ve scored five goals. Their defense tightened up, and we couldn’t get anything going in our half-court offense.”

Arcidiacono scored two goals, while four others scored once: Kelcy Barott, Kelsey Carrigan, Shelby Schaefer and Weed. Senior Melissa Fisher had nine saves.

The Rams will now turn their focus to Santa Clara for Sunday’s third-place game. The Rams and Broncos will clash at 1:30 p.m. MT. Earlier this month, CSU fell in Santa Clara, 11-9. The Rams held a halftime lead of 5-3, and were tied in the fourth quarter before the Broncos pulled away late.

“Santa Clara is a great team, and they’re tough at home,” Moody said. “We have a game plan ready for them already, and it’s just going to be a matter of executing from start to finish. We have the chance to make history at CSU tomorrow.”

A win would give CSU its highest-ever tournament finish. Currently, the program’s best mark came in 2010, when the Rams finished fourth.

In January it was announced that this would be the final season of water polo at CSU, making Sunday the program’s last game. Water polo became a sponsored Division I sport at CSU in 2005.

“We’re ready to lay it all out on the line, because this is it,” Moody said. “I feel like we’re in a good place to go out strong.”

WWPA CHAMPIONSHIPS SEMIFINALS: No. 1 UC San Diego 14, No. 4 Colorado State 6

1 2 3 4 Final
Colorado State 2 3 0 1 6
UC San Diego 3 4 5 2 14

 

 

CSU goals: Arcidiacono, 2; Barott; Carrigan; Schaefer; Weed
CSU saves: Fisher, 9

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