Water polo preview: Rams begin conference play in Davis

Two of CSU's four games this weekend will be considered conference games, and will count toward the WWPA Championships seeding.

Two of CSU's four games this weekend will be considered conference games, and will count toward the WWPA Championships seeding.

Feb. 28, 2013

Complete Weekly Release | Tournament Central

Aggie Shootout

March 2-3, 2013 | Schaal Aquatics Center | Davis, Calif.

Preparing for the Aggie Shootout
Coming off of an exhibition win last weekend over the Colorado Club All-Stars, the Rams return to the pool for the Aggie Shootout. CSU will face four teams in the two-day tournament, including host and nationally ranked UC Davis. The weekend is also critical as two of the Rams’ contests (Sonoma State and Santa Clara) are considered conference games, and will help determine CSU’s seed entering the WWPA Championships.

In its history, CSU has not fared well against its four upcoming foes, going 6-25. However, the Rams went 1-2 a year ago, dropping contests against Sonoma State, 6-8, and at Santa Clara, 8-12, before upsetting the Broncos (the No. 5 seed) in the WWPA Championships, 6-5. The victory helped CSU (originally the No. 8 seed) play in the fifth-place game, where the Rams fell in sudden victory overtime. CSU has never played the Concordia Eagles, an NAIA team.

“Not only are we excited to get on the road and start playing games again, but it’s our first big weekend with two conference games,” associate head coach Mike Moody said. “Through our first eight games, we learned a lot and got better, but this weekend is the time for us to take the next step.”

Stats after each game will be available on the tournament central page.

Beginning a new conference format
Different this season will be a new WWPA format. Unlike in years past, where any game—tournament or single-contest—played against a WWPA school counted as a conference game, this year, each team will have seven designated conference games, which will determine the seeding for the WWPA Championships (April 26-28 in Santa Clara, Calif.).

The adaptation is in advance to next season’s format, which will include a home-and-home series for each WWPA school. Prior to this season, teams could have a different number of league games, depending on scheduling.

Even if a school plays a WWPA opponent more than once—as CSU will do on several occasions—only the predetermined designated games will count toward a team’s conference standings. The complete conference schedule can be found on Page 4 of the complete release.

Shutting out the All-Stars
Trying to fill an open weekend, the Rams played in the second annual exhibition game against the Colorado Club All-Stars last Saturday, a makeshift team made up of the top players from the Air Force Academy, University of Colorado and University of Denver club teams. The Rams were dominant on both ends of the pool, shutting out the All-Stars, 19-0.

Had the game been a regulation contest, it would have marked CSU’s first shutout, in addition to the most goals ever scored by the Rams. Freshman Ariel Arcidiacono scored just 24 seconds in to the contest to put the Rams on top, 1-0. Three of CSU’s first goals came from Arcidiacono, who finished the day with a team-high five. In addition to the freshman, six other Rams scored in the first half, giving CSU a 10-0 lead entering the intermission. At that point, Moody was able to use some of his reserves, including allowing goalie Michelle Slagle to play on offense, where she scored two goals.

“It was good for us to stay in game mode, and to work on small details and get a lot of playing time,” Moody said. “All in all, it was a great day at the pool.”

Picking up an historic win
The Rams’ victory over No. 20 Brown on Feb. 9 was an historic one, as it marked the second time in program history that CSU has beaten a nationally ranked team. The victory showed great efforts by senior Shelby Schaefer, who led the Rams with three goals, and junior Michelle Slagle, who had 12 stops in net.

After holding a slight lead, 6-5, at halftime, Brown tied the score at 7-7 entering the final period. After a Bears goal with 34 seconds remaining made it 9-9, Schaefer responded, scoring with 4 tics on the clock to give the Rams a 10-9 upset.

CSU’s other ranked victory came on April 11, 2010, against No. 17 UC San Diego.

On a roll
Shelby Schaefer has scored in 17 straight games dating back to last April, which is now a program record.

She passed Laurien White on Feb. 9, who scored in 14 consecutive during the 2007 season. Schaefer also holds third place, scoring in 13 straight contests a year ago.

On the verge of history
Senior goalie Melissa Fisher became the second Ram to record 500 career saves, doing so against Brown on Feb. 11 of last year. In her three-plus seasons, she has now amassed 644 career stops, and trails only Krystyna McCright for CSU’s all-time saves record. She could reach the mark this weekend, sitting 16 away.

For her career, Fisher holds CSU of CSU’s top seven single-season saves totals, and earlier this season, recorded 16 saves in a game, tied for the most in single-game history.

Scheduling tough opponents
Now in his eighth season with the Rams, Moody is known to piece together tough schedules, noting that more than half of his team’s opponents over the past two seasons have been against teams ranked at some point in the Women’s Varsity Top 20 poll. This season is no different, as 13 of CSU’s 27 scheduled games are against teams who are ranked.


 

 

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