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Water polo preview: Rams gear up for WWPA Championships

CSU will face No. 9 Cal State San Bernardino Friday at 1 p.m. MT.

CSU will face No. 9 Cal State San Bernardino Friday at 1 p.m. MT.

April 25, 2012

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2012 WWPA Women's Championships
April 27-29 | Canyonview Aquatic Center

1 - Loyola Marymount
2 - UC San Diego
3 - Cal State Bakersfield
4 - Cal State East Bay
5 - Santa Clara
6 - Cal State Monterey Bay
7 - Sonoma State
8 - Colorado State
9 - Cal State San Bernardino

Game 1    No. 8 Colorado State vs. No. 9 Cal State San Bernardino, 1 p.m. MT
Game 2    No. 4 Cal State East Bay vs. No. 5 Santa Clara, 2:30 p.m.
Game 3    No. 3 Cal State Bakersfield vs. No. 6 Cal State Monterey Bay, 4 p.m.
Game 4    No. 2 UC San Diego vs. No. 7 Sonoma State, 5:30 p.m.
Game 5    No. 1 Loyola Marymount vs. Winner Game 1, 7 p.m.

Game 6    Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 1 (Consolation Play-In), 1 p.m.
Game 7    Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3 (Semifinals), 2:30 p.m.
Game 8    Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 2 (Semifinals), 4 p.m.
Game 9    Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 5 (Consolation), 5:30 p.m.
Game 10    Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 6 (Consolation), 7 p.m.

Game 11    Loser Game 9 vs. Loser Game 10 (7th Place), 11:30 a.m.
Game 12    Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10 (5th Place), 1 p.m.
Game 13    Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8 (3rd Place), 2:30 p.m.
Game 14    Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 (WWPA Championship), 4 p.m.

Entering the tournament
The CSU Rams are using this weekend's conference tournament as a fresh start. Coach Mike Moody and his team know that any team can get hot, and if the Rams can string together a couple wins in a row, they'll have the chance to continue playing past these next couple of days. CSU will kick off the tournament, facing ninth-seeded Cal State San Bernardino in the play-in game.  From there, the Rams' path could take a couple different routes.

With a win, CSU will face top-seeded and undefeated Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. MT on Friday. If CSU falls to the Coyotes, however, the Rams will drop into the consolation bracket, facing the loser of Friday's matchup between No. 2 UC San Diego and No. 7 Sonoma State, at 1 p.m. Saturday. CSU is 2-0 against the Coyotes this season.

While the No. 8 seed isn't where CSU would have liked to be sitting at this point in the season, Moody is optimistic entering the conference tourney.

"Everything's behind us now, and this is a fresh start," he said. "No. 8 is not our goal, but I'm confident we'll play well. We won't overlook our game against Cal State San Bernardino. It's a play-in game, so it's really important. We're focused on this weekend, and this weekend only. We've taken what we've needed to learn from our games this season, and are focusing on our one game vs. San Bernardino."

If the Rams face LMU in the second game, Moody is eager for the opportunity.

"I'm excited to potentially meet LMU," he said. "We're the only team in the conference who came close to beating them. Again, we're not going to overlook San Bernardino, but if we get the chance to face LMU, we'll be up for the challenge.

CSU lost to LMU 12-10 on April 1. No other conference foe has gotten within six goals of the Lions.

CSU in the WWPA Championships
The Rams will compete in the WWPA Championships for the eighth time in 2012, and will play as the No. 8 seed. The highest the Rams have ever been is No. 4, in 2011, where they went 2-1 for a fifth-place finish. In all, CSU is 12-11 in the conference tournament, winning at least one game each year, and two wins all but twice. CSU's highest finish was No. 4, in 2011. That year, the Rams beat No. 3 Cal State East Bay, 10-8, as the No. 6 seed, to advance in the winners bracket.

While it's just one game, CSU will enter the WWPA Championships riding a winning streak for just the third time in program history. The Rams defeated conference-foe Cal State East Bay, 8-7, on April 15, to gain momentum entering the tournament. CSU also finished the regular season with a win in 2006 and 2009.

Steady in neutral pools
The Rams are winless on the road this season (0-9), but have played decently in neutral sites. All six of CSU's wins have come in a neutral pool (6-8). At least two of CSU's games this weekend will be in a neutral pool.

Three named to all-WWPA team
For the second consecutive season, the Colorado State women's water polo team garnered three all-conference honors. The three selections ties a program record, established last year.

Kallie Berry, Caroline Young and Kelcy Barott were honored by the Western Water Polo Association on Tuesday. For Young and Barott, it was their first conference selection, while Berry has been named to two previous teams (2009 all-freshman team, 2010 second team).




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