The CSU women’s water polo team kicked off its fourth-ever season Thursday night at EPIC in front of a loud and supportive home crowd. Unfortunately for the Ram faithful, the CSU lost to the UC San Diego Titans, 18-9.The Rams opened the game playing close with the Titans, finishing the first period down 6-2. It was the second period where UCSD piled it on, as they scored six unanswered goals, leaving the score at halftime 12-2.
“We showed our inexperience tonight,” said head coach John Mattos, “This is a good UCSD team and we played toe to toe with their first-team, but then we had some defensive breakdowns and little errors and little decisions that cost us and put the game out of reach by halftime.”
With the game out of hand, UCSD played with their second- and third-teams for the entire second half. This gave CSU the opportunity to play some of their own backups.
“We mixed it up all night,” Mattos said. “W e were able to put some of our second-teamers in there and get them some experience.”
Sophomore Sarah Ostling and freshman Ali Pavlik were bright spots for the young Ram team still learning how to play with each other. Ostling and Pavlik each scored three goals, and Pavlik also added two steals. Sophomore Shannon Kohl and Senior Emily McCullough added the other two goals.
“We are very young and are still getting used to playing with each other in real live game situations,” Ostling said. “It wasn’t quite there yet, but as the week goes on we’ll get stronger.”
The Rams came back strong in the fourth period, outscoring UCSD 4-2. Assistant coach Mike Moody was impressed with how the team responded in the final period.
“We always pride ourselves on being the stronger team in the fourth period,” Moody said. “This is a good bunch of young kids.”
Moody was also impressed with the size of the home crowd.
“This was probably the best turnout I’ve ever seen,” Ostling said. “They were great and provided a lot of excitement. It was a little nerve racking at the beginning of the game since this is the first real game we played, but it was definitely great to have family and friends here to cheer us on and give us support.”
The team now heads to Michigan this weekend for the Kickoff Tourney and will return back to Ft. Collins Feb. 9 and 10 for the Hilton Hotel Invitational at EPIC.