Feb. 9, 2012
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The Princeton Invite
After more than two weeks between game action, the Rams will be back in the pool this weekend for the Princeton Invite. CSU will face four teams in the two-day tournament, and will be looking for its first win of the 2012 season. In all, eight teams will be competing, with the Rams taking on Brown, Bucknell, Harvard and host Princeton.
Saturday, Feb. 11
Bucknell vs. Harvard, 7 a.m. (MT)
Villanova vs. George Washington, 8:30 a.m.
Brown vs. Colorado State, 10 a.m.
Mercyhurst vs. Villanova, 11:30 a.m.
Princeton vs. Harvard, 1 p.m.
Bucknell vs. Colorado State, 2:30 p.m.
Brown vs. George Washington, 4 p.m.
Princeton vs. Mercyhurst, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 12
Bucknell vs. George Washington, 6:30 a.m.
Princeton vs. Colorado State, 7:45 a.m.
Harvard vs. Villanova, 9 a.m.
Bucknell vs. Mercyhurst, 10:15 a.m.
Harvard vs. Colorado State, 11:30 a.m.
Princeton vs. Villanova, 1 p.m.
Success at Princeton
The Rams played in the Princeton Invite in 2011, coming away with great success. CSU went 3-1 on the weekend, beating Brown, George Washington and Villanova, before falling to then-No. 18 Princeton, 10-9, in sudden-death overtime. Overall in the tournament, CSU outscored its opponents, 54-28.
Despite dropping the first five games of the season, the Rams are still anticipating to make a big splash in 2012.
Senior Amber Bryan leads CSU with 12 goals in five games, also tallying three steals and a pair of drawn ejections. Two other key contributors are Caroline Young (nine goals, six assists, three steals, five ejections drawn) and Kallie Berry (six goals, five assists, 11 steals, nine ejections drawn). Additionally, Lauren Porteus, a sophomore, recorded a hat trick in CSU's most recent contest (Jan. 26 vs. UC San Diego).
"We have a couple players who will really be leading us," coach Mike Moody said prior to the season. "There's two-time all-conference player Kallie Berry, but there's also Shelby Schaefer and Caroline Young. We expect a lot out of those three. Then we have two really capable goalies. Those 3-5 players we'll heavily rely on."
The Brown Bears will open their season this weekend, coming off an 18-10 record in 2011. Despite losing both their starting goalie and leading scorer, head coach Felix Mercado's Bears return Sarah Presant, the team's second-highest scorer a year ago.
The Bison will also play their first game of the season this weekend. Bucknell was 13-18 in 2011, but returns 72.1 percent of its scoring from last year, including senior Hallie Kennan.
Princeton is coming off an 18-11 campaign in 2011. The Tigers return their starting goalie (Kristen Ward) and their top three scorers (Katie Rigler, Brittany Zwirner and Molly McBee).
The Harvard Crimson enter the Princeton Invite 1-1 on the year, falling to Iona, 15-14, before rebounding with a big win over Villanova, 13-1. In the pair of contests, senior Devan Kennifer has been the top offensive threat, tallying nine goals. She also leads the team in steals with seven.
Against the field
The Rams have limited experience against their opponents this weekend, playing in just seven total contests against them. CSU beat Brown in the Princeton Invite last year, 11-8, while host Princeton, has beaten CSU all four times the two teams have met. However, in the most recent meeting, last February at Princeton, CSU took the Tigers to sudden-death overtime before falling, 10-9, to the No. 18 team in the country. On Saturday, the Rams and Bison will meet for the third time, with Bucknell coming away in the previous two meetings, most recently in 2009.
On the bubble
After being ranked for the first time in program history, on Jan. 25, the Rams slipped to the top receiving-votes getter the following week, and after a bye week, earned one vote in the latest Women's Varsity National Top 20 poll, released by the College Water Polo Association. The Rams have now been ranked or received votes in each poll this season.
After earning the No. 20 slot late last month, receiving a ranking for the first time, coach Mike Moody responded by saying: "We're ecstatic. It's a great accomplishment for our team and our program as a whole. A lot of hard work has gone into this accomplishment, going all the way back to when the program started eight years ago and the vision (former Head Coach) John Mattos laid for CSU water polo."