Oct 302003
Authors: Vince Blaser

Women’s water polo already has eight to 12 of its 16 to 20

players on the swimming team, no facilities need changing and a

quality coach for the squad already works in the CSU athletic


These were just some reasons the long-awaited decision of the

athletic department on adding a new varsity sport went to water

polo, according to a release.

“It’s a good fit,” said CSU Director of Athletics Mark Driscoll.

“We have a chance to be competitive nationally fairy early.”

There are 29 teams that compete in Division I women’s water

polo. CSU will have a team in place by Aug. 1 and the first season

will start in March 2005. There are two divisions in Division I,

one primarily with teams from the East, the other with West Coast

teams. CSU will compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation,

comprised of 10 California schools, Arizona State and Hawaii.

The NCAA mandated that all schools with Division I-A football

teams have 16 varsity sports by Aug. 1, 2004 if they wish to

continue competing as Division I-A in football.

CSU swimming and diving coach John Mattos was immediately named

as the water polo coach. Driscoll said Mattos proposed that CSU add

men’s swimming and women’s water polo last year and his abilities

were the primary reason the department decided on water polo over

other candidates.

“He’s a very successful coach,” Driscoll said of Mattos, who

will also be an assistant coach for the U.S. World Championships in


“It will be parallel with what we’re doing now,” Mattos said of

coaching water polo. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to do


Women’s water polo got the varsity spot over women’s soccer and

men’s baseball, among others. Baseball and soccer are both

sponsored in the Mountain West Conference and many saw women’s

soccer as the favorite.

“We were very shocked to hear that women’s water polo was

chosen,” said Sara Colorosa, a club sports coordinator. “I’ve been

working in club sports for a few years now and I always expected it

to be women’s soccer. Although it is a great change and a new

avenue for the sport as well, we are all just pretty shocked.

Ultimately flabbergasted and shocked.”

Driscoll said water polo was selected over other sports that may

be better known because water polo best fit the athletic

department’s criteria for selecting a sport. The criteria were: to

comply with the NCAA requirements, keep the gender equity numbers

in line with Title IX requirements, have as little effect on

athletic finances as possible and have as little effect on the

other varsity sports facilities as possible.

“It wasn’t in any strategic plan of ours to add a (varsity)

sport,” Driscoll said. “Had the NCAA not legislated that we needed

to add another sport, nobody would have given it a second


Anna Morrison, president of the CSU equestrian team, another

favorite for the new sport, said that while she is disappointed

equestrian was not chosen, she is happy for the water polo


“I’m not in a position to judge their decision,” Morrison said.

“I am a little surprised though.”

Mattos said he thinks that once people see the product they will

come and support the team, though the sport is not widely known.

Also, as former CSU swimmer Amy Van Dyken brought CSU notoriety

when she won four gold medals in the Olympics, a great women’s

water polo player could give CSU coverage.

The team could host individual matches at the Moby Arena pool,

but tournaments would be played at Edora Pool and Ice Center. Each

team in Division I must play a minimum of 10 matches.

“We really hope and look forward to hosting a tourney,” Driscoll

said. “We believe it’s a sport that people will watch.”




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