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Water polo season review

Mike Moody coached the Rams for eight seasons, from 2006-13.

Mike Moody coached the Rams for eight seasons, from 2006-13.

May 16, 2013

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The Colorado State women's water polo team, founded in 2005, completed its final competition on April 28. After a 1-2 finish at the WWPA Championships in Santa Clara, Calif., the Rams placed fourth, tying their best finish.


In 2012, Colorado State was picked to finish fourth in the WWPA preseason poll. The Rams were riddled by injuries, however, and entered the conference tournament ranked eighth. This year, CSU again was the No. 4 seed in the preseason poll, and the team was determined to live up to the high expectations. While the Rams' overall record wasn't where they would have hoped, CSU won the games it needed to, and finished fourth entering the Championships. After a first-round win against Sonoma State, the Rams concluded the tournament in the upper half, tying their best-ever finish (also fourth in 2010).

"I was really proud of the girls and how they responded to adversity this season," associate head coach Mike Moody said. "They faced a lot of it, both in the pool and away from it. Our overall win-loss record was not good, but the important thing is that we won the games that mattered most and put ourselves in a good position. We were picked to finish fourth, we were seeded fourth and then we got fourth in the tournament. We had a lot of success this season."

The water polo program was hit with hard news on Jan. 24, as it was announced that Colorado State University will discontinue the sponsorship of the sport. Water polo, in its ninth season, was CSU's newest sport until CSU announced that it will add women's soccer in its place.

While there was obvious shock and disappointment, the team responded to adversity by tying its highest-ever regular-season and tournament finishes. The team's final game was on Sunday, April 28, in the third-place game of the WWPA Championships. The program went 107-174 (.381) in nine seasons.

"I'm very proud of my team; I'm proud of these girls. They battled all year long, and this is exactly how I've wanted to spend my last eight seasons. I want to say thank you to everybody--from my players to the parents to the administration. I'm very honored to have coached CSU water polo with these girls."

The Colorado State water polo team earned a program-record four postseason honors April 22, as three different Rams were recognized by the Western Water Polo Association. Freshman Ariel Arcidiacono earned one of the top awards, being chosen by the league's eight coaches as the Newcomer of the Year. Joining Arcidiacono, senior Shelby Schaefer earned first-team honors, while Kelcy Barott was named an honorable mention (her second honor: 2012 All-Freshman team). Arcidiacono was also placed on the All-Freshman team. It marks the third straight season that a CSU player has been named to the All-Freshman team, and just the second time the Rams have received a first-team selection (Ali Pavlik in 2011).

"I'm really, really excited for these girls," Moody said. "They've worked so hard and have pushed themselves and their teammates, and I'm really proud of them."

After a win in the quarterfinals of the Championships and a fourth-place finish, Stephanie Weed and Barott were recognized, being named to the all-tournament first and second teams, respectively. It was the first time CSU has earned multiple selections.

Three CSU players--Ariel Arcidiacono (73 goals; fifth), Shelby Schaefer (59; eighth) and Kelcy Barott (42; 17th)--rank among the top scorers in the WWPA. CSU is one of four schools to have three players ranked in the top 17. Additionally, Stephanie Weed ranks 29th--with 32 goals. The foursome accounted for nearly 85 percent of the team's offensive production.

Not only are those players scoring, but they're also tallying assists for each other. Schaefer (41 assists; fifth) and Arcidiacono (31; 13th) also rank among the league's top passers. They are just two of six players to be among the top 15 in both categories, and the only set of teammates. On the defensive end, Weed ranks fifth in the league for steals (60), with Arcidiacono (43; 14th) and Barott (33; 21st) also ranking high.

Splitting time in net, Michelle Slagle (183 saves) and Melissa Fisher (111) rank eighth and ninth, respectively. The WWPA does not keep track of ejections drawn, but Barott had drawn 113 on the season, a program record. The previous high was 60. Making the statistics even more impressive, CSU played the second-fewest games among all WWPA schools.

In eight seasons with the Rams, Moody was 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 ranked in the final poll, CSU faced 11 of them. Additionally, the Rams played Michigan and UC San Diego twice. What's more, CSU played an exhibition contest against Cal State Northridge in January--finished the season ranked No. 14--and defeated Brown on Feb. 9, which was ranked No. 20 at the time.

In the latest report by the NCAA, CSU's stength of schedule is ranked 23rd and its RPI is No. 28. The WWPA is the third-toughest conference, based on RPI.




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