Mar 312005
Authors: Anderew Woerpel

The Rams water polo team has its sights set on the Fluid Five Tournament this weekend, which is hosted bye the University of Indiana.

The Rams will be playing against four nationally ranked teams: No. 12 Michigan, No. 9 Indiana, No. 10 San Jose State and No. 14 California-Davis.

Indiana and Michigan will be repeat foes for the Rams because the Rams played them earlier this year.

"We played those two teams really close for two quarters, so it will be a good challenge and we're not the type of team that gives up," said junior captain Holly Stanfill.

The Rams have yet to win a game against a ranked opponent, but the team is very optimistic that this tournament might be the one where it breaks that streak.

"I think that we're going to kick some butt. I think that (UC) Davis better watch out," said junior co-captain Marisa Fernandez.

The consensus strategy for the team is to just go out there and give its very best.

"Our concern is to come out from the first whistle and play tough, minimize our mistakes, minimize our kickouts, and if our kids play smart and aggressive, it's going to keep those other teams on their toes," said head coach John Mattos.

The Rams are coming into this tournament with a 5-7 record, which is a substantially smaller number of games played compared to their opponents, who have all played around close to 20 games or more.

A surprising statistic for the Rams is their goals-per-game average. They are ranked 15th in the nation in goals per game with an 8.4 average.

Humbly so, the team shrugs off its accomplishments.

"Being ranked 15th in the nation in scoring and being ranked 15th in the nation are two different things and I would much rather have the ranking than the scoring ranking," Mattos said.

Now that the Rams have a few games under their belt, they have progressed much more than they thought.

"I think that everybody has come a long way, there has been a lot of progress and there is less of a gap between players. Everybody's more heads-up in the game and knows what is going on," said freshman Emi McCullough.

The Rams have one more tournament after the Fluid Five and it will be held in Davis, Calif., on April 9.

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