The CSU women's water polo team dominated Air Force 17-5 Saturday in its first home game of the year. Colorado State was in charge of the game from the beginning, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in first quarter.
"It gave us a real good opportunity to see some kids in the water we haven't seen yet in a game situation," said head coach John Mattos about his team's victory.
The 12-point margin of victory for CSU wasn't even indicative of how lopsided the game was. Air Force scored three of its five goals in the fourth quarter, including one as time expired. The win improves the Rams' record to 2-3 on the season.
Freshman Emily Chambers helped CSU to the fast start with back-to-back goals in the opening period.
The Rams added four more goals in the second quarter, enabling them to take a 9-1 lead going into halftime.
Sophomore Leah Kelly led the Rams with three goals, recording the second hat trick of her career.
Three other players had multiple goals, including freshman Marissa Edwards, junior Brittany McGinley and senior Marisa Fernandez. Fernandez also added two assists.
The team alternated goalies each quarter, starting its returning keeper from last year, senior Holly Stanfill, who ended the game with 11 saves in two quarters of play, allowing just two goals.
Andrea Lugo, a sophomore from Montebello, Calif., shared time with Stanfill, filling in during the second and fourth quarters.
"We're really good friends and work well with each other," said Stanfill about her relationship with Lugo. "We have the same mentality when it comes to the game so we make a really good team."
The Rams were without their top goal-scorer Annie Quinn because of sickness. Sophomore center Shari Worack did not suit up for the team as well.
"We're anticipating that they will be ready to go next week," Mattos said.
The team, which was founded just last year, will next travel to California to take part in the UC Santa Cruz Slugfest starting Feb. 18. The Rams will challenge a number of fellow Western Water Polo Association teams at the Slugfest and their performance in Santa Cruz will go a long way in determining their seeding for the end of the year WWPA championships in San Diego.
"If we can get a good seeding right off, we can get into a winner's bracket and that's what we're looking for," Mattos said.
The Rams will host their next home game on March 1 at the Edora Pool and Ice Center against Michigan, a team they previously lost to 12-5 on Feb. 4.
Sean Star can be reached at email@example.com