Water polo preview: Rams face in-state rival Colorado Saturday

The Rams return to the VMAC Thursday at 3:30 p.m. MT vs. Colorado.

The Rams return to the VMAC Thursday at 3:30 p.m. MT vs. Colorado.

Feb. 16, 2012

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About Colorado
The University of Colorado club team has four Colorado natives on its roster. Co-captain Carrie Gelman, a senior, is a two-time second-team all-conference selection. Matt Anthony is the head coach of the CU club team, and in 2010 was named Coach of the Year by his league.

Weekend rewind: Princeton Invitational
• The Rams went 1-3 on the weekend, coming away with their first win of 2012, a 9-7 victory over Bucknell.
• CSU fell in close battles to Brown (9-12), Harvard (7-12) and then-No. 20 Princeton (5-6).
• The Rams led host Princeton entering the fourth quarter, and were seconds away from taking the Tigers into overtime for the second consecutive season. However, a Princeton goal in the final minute of regulation sealed the win for the Tigers, 6-5.
• The 11 total goals in the contest against Princeton was tied for 10th-fewest in ever in a CSU game.
• CSU's win vs. Bucknell was not only the team's first win of 2012, but also its first win over Bucknell in three tries.
• The win snapped CSU's six-game losing streak to start the season, which was CSU's fourth-longest streak.

Out of the rankings
After a slow start, the Rams are no longer receiving votes in the Women's Varsity National Top 20 poll, which is released weekly by the College Water Polo Association. On Jan. 25, CSU earned a top-20 ranking for the first time in program history, and had received votes each week after until the latest poll. Overall, CSU has been ranked or received votes in four of the five polls 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."

Back at the VMAC
CSU will play its second-ever game at its new home, the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center, on Saturday. The Rams fell in their inaugural contest at the VMAC, 14-11, to then-No. 14 UC San Diego.

For seven years, EPIC had been home to the Colorado State water polo team. But beginning in 2012, the Rams relocated to the VMAC, a new facility located in Thornton, Colo.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the state of Colorado," coach Mike Moody said. "We're more centrally located there. I hope to bring a good fan base from the Denver and Boulder areas."

It also allows the Rams to play their home games in a regulation water polo pool--25 meters in length by 20 meters in width, and at least seven meters deep--for the first time. The VMAC is a $19.5-million facility that features a 765,000-gallon, 50-meter Olympic-size pool. The facility opened just over a year ago. CSU will play all home games at the VMAC, in addition to practicing there on Saturdays.

Best in the nation
Several individual Rams are among the top players in the nation in multiple statistical categories, including Kallie Berry, who leads the nation in steals. For a complete list of individuals ranked in the top-25 of statistical categories, view the chart on page 3.

Scheduling tough opponents

Coach Mike Moody is known to piece together tough schedules, noting that more than half of last year's schedule was against teams ranked at some point in the Women's Varsity National Top 20 Poll. This season is no different, as the Rams will clash with eight teams currently ranked in the top-20 poll. An additional two teams are receiving votes, and four of the teams that are ranked CSU will play twice. In total, 14 of CSU's 23 Division-I games scheduled thus far are against teams ranked or receiving.

While CSU's schedule is tougher than ever, so are the Rams. CSU has received votes in four of the five weeks this season, and the team even cracked the top-20 for the first time in program history in late January.

Young on a roll
Junior Caroline Young has scored at least one goal each game this season, tied for the 10th-longest streak in program history. Laurien White holds the school record when she scored in 14 straight games in March 2007.

500
Goalie Melissa Fisher, a junior, became the second Ram to record 500 career saves. She did so with her first save this past weekend against Brown. In her two-plus seasons, Fisher has amassed 523 saves. She trails only Krystyna McCright for CSU's all-time saves record. She could possibly reach that this season, needing 138 more stops to hold the record.

Tough in the net
CSU coach Mike Moody knew going into camp this year he had two viable goalie options, and wasn't sure which one would be the starter. Now, nearly a month into the season, it's the same, with both goalies receiving quality time, and both goalies performing well when given the opportunity. Melissa Fisher, a junior and CSU's goaltender a year ago, has started five games this year, recording 55 saves. Notable games include limiting No. 3 UCLA (Jan. 21) to nine goals and recording 15 saves (tied for sixth-most in program history) in CSU's win over Bucknell (Feb. 11). Redshirt sophomore Michelle Slagle, a transfer from Loyola Marymount, has been in net four times this year, recording 37 saves. Some of her top performances are holding No. 20 Princeton to six goals and tying a program record with 16 saves vs. Michigan (Jan. 21).

Out of the gate
CSU had one of the toughest starts to a season, facing five ranked opponents. The Rams took on No. 3 UCLA, No. 10 Indiana and No. 12 Michigan (twice) in the opening weekend, before hosting No. 14 UC San Diego. Overall, CSU has played six ranked teams in nine contests.


 

 

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