Water polo preview: CSU looks to end regular season on high note

Senior Kailin Custy, a Denver native, has 7 goals this season

Senior Kailin Custy, a Denver native, has 7 goals this season

April 8, 2010

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By Zach Balside
Athletic Media Relations

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - CSU water polo is hoping to improve its conference record as it plays four Western Water Polo Association members this weekend at The Bronco at the Sullivan Aquatic Center in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Rams (8-14, 3-3 WWPA) have matches set against Santa Clara, Cal State San Bernardino, No. 17 UC San Diego and No. 7 Loyola Marymount. All four games will have tremendous impact leading into the WWPA conference tournament starting April 30.

CSU lost two tight games to Santa Clara last season, both by scores of 8-5. CSU's second loss to Santa Clara came in the WWPA conference tournament and kept the Rams from advancing in the tournament.

"They do a great job of executing their game plan," coach Mike Moody said. "The girls and I have been talking and we know that we need to do a good job defensively to stay out of foul trouble."

Moody also added that the Rams need to try to keep control of the game. "We need to play our style, which is a more aggressive, up-tempo, faster pace game. If we can do that, then we're going to get them out of their game and we should be successful," Moody said.

Ali Pavlik led the Rams with a hat trick as CSU defeated Cal State San Bernardino 9-3 in their last action at the Loyola Marymount Invitational on March 20. But CSU is not going to expect the same result to come easily.

"It's a conference game and it's leading into the conference tournament, so we're definitely not going to overlook San Bernardino," Moody said.

No. 17 UC San Diego is the Rams' first opponent on Sunday. Last April in Santa Clara's tournament, CSU nearly pulled off an upset over a then-No. 18 UC San Diego squad in an 8-7 affair. Hat tricks from Pavlik and Orsi Nadasdy weren't quite enough for the Rams to squeeze out a huge win.

UC San Diego is coming into this tournament with momentum, winning each of its last six contests.

"They've done a great job playing some tough teams early on and now it's really paying off for them," Moody said. "Limiting our errors to prevent them from countering us and scoring easy goals is what the game plan is for that game."

CSU's last regular season game will come against the highest ranked team in the WWPA, No. 7 Loyola Marymount. The Rams lost a road game at LMU by a score of 13-5 on March 19.

"We played them tough in the first half but got into some foul trouble," Moody said of the earlier meeting between the teams. "They're definitely a top-10 team in the country. We're going to focus on the small things and execute the game plan that the girls and I have designed.

"If we're there in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, I really believe it can be anybody's game."

CSU's last action was on March 20, and the team has had lots of time to prepare for this crucial tournament.

"We've had some intense practices to keep us game-ready, but ultimately it was a good break and I think we're ready for this weekend," Moody said.

CSU plays Santa Clara at 11:30 a.m. MT on Saturday, followed by Cal State San Bernardino at 5:45 p.m. MT. Sunday features the Rams at 9 a.m. MT against UC San Diego, and the regular season finishes with LMU at 2 p.m. MT.

Spotlight On: Senior Kailin Custy
Denver native Kailin Custy did not take the easy road to become a starter on a Division 1 water polo team.

Custy started as a walk-on her freshman season and through lots of effort, has become a team captain and a two-time starting defender.

"It's a testament to her character, her work ethic and her commitment to better herself," Moody said.

Custy, the team's only Colorado native, does not boast huge statistics, but there is no doubt she is a vital member of the club.

"She quarterbacks the defense," Moody said. "She's a team leader. She's a very hard worker."

Having a stalwart defender like Custy has definitely helped the Rams' back-end this season, as she has collected 16 steals and supported true freshman goalie Melissa Fisher.

The senior is not only sound defensively, but she also has a solid offensive game. "She helps on the perimeter and takes good, high-percentage shots, which is what she needs to be doing," Moody said.

What might be most impressive about Custy, however, is the progress she has made in just four years.

"To go from where she's come from, to where she is now, it's a true testament to her character and her desire to better herself, and to be a part of this system and program," Moody said. "It's really exciting to watch her perform and to remember where she came from is just huge."

 

 

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