Water polo preview: Rams gear up for conference tournament

Senior Sarah Ostling has scored 147 career goals entering her final WWPA conference tournament

Senior Sarah Ostling has scored 147 career goals entering her final WWPA conference tournament

April 28, 2010

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By Zach Balside
Athletic Media Relations

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Seeded sixth for the second consecutive season, the Rams (10-16, 5-5 Western Water Polo Association) will be looking for success at the Western Water Polo Association conference tournament starting Friday at the Hillman Aquatic Center.

CSU opens with a 4:20 p.m. MT matchup on Friday against Cal State East Bay (21-11, 9-3 WWPA), which is seeded third in the tournament.

The Rams lost a close contest to East Bay on Valentine's Day by an 8-7 score. It was the only meeting between the teams this year. CSU did beat East Bay in two tight matches last season.

Coach Mike Moody believes that the key to success this time is attacking early and often.

"We need to put it out of reach in the first half," Moody said. "We need to push the tempo of the game. We need to play a smart and controlled offense.

"If we can control the ball and take high-percentage shots, and do that early in the first half, that's our gameplan."

As always, Moody also hopes the team can remain disciplined. When the two teams played earlier in the season, CSU was given 11 ejections to East Bay's 4.

"That's going to be the key, staying out of foul trouble," Moody said.

Good discipline can be a product of experience, and the Rams will bring three active seniors to Bakersfield who will be playing in their fourth, and final, WWPA tournament. Katy Armstrong, Kailin Custy and Sarah Ostling hope to provide leadership this weekend.

"I really believe for the three of them, that it will be their time to shine," Moody said. "I think they're going to put the team on their backs. I think what will really come out this weekend from our seniors is their spirit and their heart and their drive and determination.

"I'm excited to see what they can do. I can't believe it's their last conference tournament. It's gone by fast. They've done a good job."

It won't just be the strong seniors leading the attack and defending the goal for the Rams, however. Strong performances are anticipated from junior Ali Pavlik, who led the team in goals for the second straight year with 46, freshman goalie Melissa Fisher, who has recorded 203 saves, and sophomore Kallie Berry, who was named second-team all-conference this week.

Berry has scored 34 goals and tallied 33 steals this season. She also has 9 field blocks.

"She's got a great outside shot and she moves the ball well," Moody said of Berry. "She's a presence on the offensive end and she gets other players involved."

Moody also stressed that it was Berry's all-around play that got her the nomination.

"Defensively she's a very physical player," Moody said. "She does a good job in her position and she's a tough competitor. She's very, very solid."

If CSU defeats East Bay, it will play the winner of the matchup between No. 18 UC San Diego-Chapman and Sonoma State. The Rams defeated a then-No.17 UC San Diego team 8-4 on April 11, the first win against a ranked opponent in school history. CSU dominated Chapman on March 19, 15-4, in its only meeting of the year. It was the largest margin of victory for the Rams since they beat Chapman by 12 goals in 2008. CSU did not play Sonoma State during the regular season, and lost in its only contest last year, 13-7.

Moody strongly believes that the Rams can compete with anyone in the conference, and this weekend will be CSU's chance to prove it.

"After all the sweat they've had in the weight room, the chalk talks and the film, it comes down to this weekend," Moody said. "I truly believe this team is as prepared as they're going to get. They've done all the hard work. They've met the challenges of travelling and playing top teams. It's been a long road, but the girls know what it was all for and now we're there and we're excited."

2010 WWPA Women's Championships
April 30 - May 2
Hillman Aquatic Center • Bakersfield, Calif.
(all times MT)

Friday, April 30
Game 1 10 a.m. No. 7 Sonoma St. vs. No. 10 Chapman
Game 2 11:20 a.m. No. 8 CS San Bernardino vs. No. 9 CS Monterey Bay
Game 3 2 p.m. No. 4 CSU Bakersfield vs. No. 5 Santa Clara
Game 4 3:20 p.m. No. 3 CSU East Bay vs. No. 6 Colorado State
Game 5 4:40 p.m. No. 2 UC San Diego vs. Winner Game 1
Game 6 6 p.m. No. 1 LMU vs. Winner Game 2

Saturday, May 1
Game 7 10 a.m. Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 1
Game 8 11:20 a.m. Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 9 2 p.m. Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4
Game 10 3:20 p.m. Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 3
Game 11 4:40 p.m. Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 6
Game 12 6 p.m. Winner Game 8 vs. Loser Game 5

Sunday, May 2
Game 13 10 a.m. Loser Game 8 vs. Loser Game 7
Game 14 11:30 a.m. Loser Game 12 vs. Loser Game 11
Game 15 1 p.m. Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 12
Game 16 2:30 p.m. Loser Game 9 vs. Loser Game 10
Game 17 4 p.m. Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 9

2010 WWPA Women's Championship Seedings:
1. LMU
2. UC San Diego
3. Cal State East Bay
4. Cal State Bakersfield
5. Santa Clara
6. Colorado State
7. Sonoma State
8. Cal State San Bernardino
9. CS Monterey Bay

 

 

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