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Water polo preview: CSU aiming for upper-half finish

The Rams will play their final three WWPA games this weekend.

The Rams will play their final three WWPA games this weekend.

April 4, 2013

Weekly Release (PDF)

Closing out the regular season

The CSU Rams will once again travel to the state of California, this time for the final time of the regular season. The Rams will play a WWPA game at Cal State East Bay on Friday night (5 p.m. MT), followed by The Bronco, a four-game, two-day tournament in Santa Clara, Calif. There, CSU will face two ranked teams--No. 8 Hawai'i and No. 17 UC San Diego--in addition to matchups against Santa Clara and Cal State Monterey Bay.

"It's the final tournament entering the WWPA Championships, so like any sport, we want to be at our best at this time of year," associate head coach Mike Moody said. "I think we're in a good place physically, and I think we'll play well this weekend. The other parts are mentally and emotionally, and we need to make sure that we're focusing on the present; we've been through a lot this season, and we need to be focused on the next game, nothing more."

More tournament information can be found here.

Looking for an upper-half finish
Entering the weekend at 2-2 in WWPA play, CSU will finish its conference schedule with three games over the weekend--at Cal State East Bay, vs. UC San Diego and vs. Cal State Monterey Bay. The Rams currently sit in fourth place in the eight-team standings, and with a successful weekend, should finish in the upper half of the WWPA standings.

"Everything's coming together, and this is a great weekend for us to position ourselves for the conference tournament," Moody said. "We know that if we take care of business we can be the No. 4 seed."

The Rams were the No. 4 seed in 2011, their highest-ever placement entering the conference tournament.

On a roll
Freshman Ariel Arcidiacono has scored in all 22 games of her collegiate career. Not only is that the most by a CSU player to begin her career, but it is also the most consecutive games scored in by any Rams player. Arcidiacono passed teammate Shelby Schaefer in the team's most recent tournament.

Schaefer recorded a goal in 18 straight games between April 2012 and March 2013. After not scoring in one game, the senior has scored in 12 straight, which ranks sixth.

Among the best in the West
Three CSU players--Ariel Arcidiacono (sixth), Kelcy Barott (eighth) and Shelby Schaefer (12th)--rank among the top scorers in the WWPA. CSU is the only WWPA school to have three players in the top 12. Additionally, Stephanie Weed ranks 23rd with 24 goals. The foursome account for nearly 83 percent of the team's offensive production.

Not only are those players scoring, but they're also tallying assists for each other. Schaefer (31 assists; tied for fifth) and Arcidiacono (27; tied for eighth) 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.

Despite splitting time in net, Michelle Slagle (139 saves; sixth) and Melissa Fisher (86; ninth) both rank in the top 10 for saves. The WWPA does not keep track of ejections drawn, but Barott has drawn 81 on the season, a program record. The previous high was 60.

All in
Playing 10 games in a nine-day period required Moody to adjust his lineup a bit, allowing some of his bench to get additional playing time. Freshmen Savannah Carroll, Danielle Summers and Alexandra Dolan each saw their first action of the season March 16-17, in addition to Abigail Glennon, also a freshman, receiving extra time in the pool. Glennon and freshman Morgan Hurley recently scored their first collegiate goals.

"Our depth got so much better over the Arizona State Tournament," Moody said. "I have confidence in our depth and our bench now, which is what hurt us early on in the season."

Looking ahead
CSU will host a reunion game on Saturday, April 13, at 1:30 p.m. MT. The game will be held at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center, the Rams' home facility in Thornton, Colo. The exhibition game will be the final home contest for the water polo program, and will welcome back many former players.

Two weeks later, CSU will compete in the pinnacle tournament of the season, the WWPA Championships, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Rams are guaranteed three games, with the winner earning an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.




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