May 022010
 
Authors: David de Besche

History was made this weekend when the CSU water polo team finished fourth in the WWPA Conference Tournament.

The Rams knew that they would be fighting an uphill battle in the tournament. With the sixth seed in the 10-team tournament field, the Rams were set to face third seeded Cal State East Bay.

In the biggest upset of the tournament, CSU dealt East Bay –– a team that had won 21 games this season –– an opening round loss, taking the match 10-8. CSU junior Aspen Rapp, who had never scored more than two goals in one game before Friday, rose to the occasion and netted five goals for the Rams.

“It was a breakout game for her,” head coach Mike Moody said of Rapp’s performance. “For three years she has been working hard, and it was so great to see her play that way.”

With the upset, the Rams were propelled into the semifinals for the first time in school history to face UC San Diego for the chance to play for the conference championship and a bid to nationals. Despite having beaten UCSD in early April, the Rams fell to the No. 18 team in the nation 14-8 on Saturday.

Rapp continued her hot streak, adding three more goals in the semifinal match up, while senior Sarah Ostling also added a hat trick for CSU in the loss. UCSD controlled the pace the entire match and came out with a huge second quarter, scoring five goals on the Rams.

“They came out with a hard press and forced some turnovers, which led to a deficit early,” Moody said.

With the loss Saturday, CSU dropped in the bracket to play Cal State Bakersfield for third place on Sunday. In a close match, the game was a heartbreaker for the Rams, who fell 8-7 to the Roadrunners when Bakersfield’s sophomore Kaitlin Torres beat CSU goaltender Melissa Fisher with five seconds left in regulation.

The Rams made school history this weekend with their fourth place finish and showed that CSU water polo is a program on the rise. With a final record of 11-18, CSU will use their late success to build on for next year’s season.

“It’s school history,” Moody said. “We’re very, very excited.”

Sports Reporter David de Besche can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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