Water polo preview: Rams prepare to play nation's best




March 20, 2013

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After a 3-1 weekend in California, the Rams (6-10, 2-2 WWPA) return to the pool for arguably their most challenging week of the season. CSU will face six teams in the three-day Arizona State Tournament, in Tempe, Ariz. Included on the slate are four ranked teams, including No. 3 Arizona State and No. 2 Stanford, the defending national champions. Action begins Friday, with two games each day.

Wins, wins, wins

With three consecutive victories over the weekend, CSU is riding its longest winning streak in two years. It is the program’s ninth winning streak of three games or more, and its first since March 2011. A win over Arizona State on Friday would not only be the biggest upset in school history, but it would also match CSU’s longest winning streak, of four games. The Rams also were victorious in four consecutive games during the 2006 and 2009 seasons.

Among the best in the West
Three CSU players—Ariel Arcidiacono (seventh), Kelcy Barott (tied for ninth) and Shelby Schaefer (tied for ninth)—rank in the top 10 in the WWPA for goals scored. CSU is the only WWPA school to have three players in the top 10. Additionally, Stephanie Weed ranks 22nd with 18 goals. The foursome account for nearly 82 percent of the team’s offensive production.

Not only are those players scoring, but they’re also tallying assists for each other. Arcidiacono (24 assists; tied for sixth) and Schaefer (22; tied for 10th) also rank in the league’s top 10 for helpers. They are just two of five players to be among the top 10 in both categories, and the only set of teammates.

10 is the magic number
When the Rams reach double digits in goals, they are a perfect 6-0. When they are held to single digits, however, the Rams are winless (0-10). CSU scored a season-most 16 goals on Feb. 10 vs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, which is tied for the ninth-most in single-game history.

All in
With CSU jumping out to an early lead over La Verne on Sunday, associate head coach Mike Moody was given the opportunity to put in some of his reserve players. Freshmen Savannah Carroll, Danielle Summers and Alexandra Dolan each saw their first action of the season over the weekend, in addition to Abigail Glennon, also a freshman, receiving extra time in the pool.

Scheduling the best
Now in his eighth season with the Rams, Moody is known to piece together challenging schedules. More than half of his team’s opponents over the past two seasons have been ranked at some point in the CWPA Women’s Varsity Top 20 poll. Of the 20 teams currently ranked, CSU has faced or will face 11 of them. The Rams this weekend play face Michigan for a second time, and depending on seeding for the WWPA Championships, could face another ranked team (Loyola Marymount and UC San Diego are currently ranked). What’s more, CSU played an exhibition contests against Cal State Northridge in January—currently ranked No. 13—and defeated Brown on Feb. 9, which was ranked No. 20 at the time.

On a roll
Shelby Schaefer scored in 18 straight games from April 2012 through March 2, 2013. She now holds CSU’s all-time record, surpassing the previous mark of 14. Additionally, freshman Ariel Arcidiacono has scored in all 16 games of her young career—the most ever by a CSU player to begin her collegiate career—ranking second in school history. Sophomore Kelcy Barott is right behind her teammates, currently scoring in 10 consecutive games. Should she score against Arizona State on Friday, her mark would be tied for eighth in school history.

New conference format
Through two weeks of conference action, the Rams stand at 2-2, which is currently good for fourth place. CSU has defeated Sonoma State and Cal State San Bernardino, while falling to Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount.

Different from past seasons, 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 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 6.

Top goalie in program history
Senior goalie Melissa Fisher made history on March 3, becoming Colorado State water polo’s all-time saves leader. On her final stop against Concordia, Fisher amassed her 671st save, passing Krystyna McCright.

“It actually means a lot,” Fisher said. “The girl who held the record before me was my coach my freshman year. It’s almost like I’m living a legacy. It’s what every goalie hopes for in her four years.”

While the milestone is an honor for Fisher, recognition is nothing new for the native of Danville, Calif.

Fisher posted 245 saves during her sophomore season, which ranks second in CSU history. Her season total as a freshman (223) ranks fourth, and as a junior she ranked seventh (144). Last month, in a game against Wagner, Fisher posted 16 saves, which tied CSU’s single-game mark.

“Fish getting the all-time saves record is a really great accomplishment for her,” Moody said. “It’s been an absolute joy working with her these last four years. She’s a heck of a goalie, and is very consistent. She’s a great athlete, a great leader and I’m really happy to see her finish her career here and getting this honor.


 

 

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