No. 8 Michigan Water Polo Battles No. 4 UCLA to the Brink, Falls to No. 1 Stanford
ANN ARBOR, Mich.
-- The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan water polo team
stuck with a pair of perennial powerhouses for three of four
periods each but fell to No. 4-ranked UCLA, 6-5, and No. 1-ranked
Stanford, 15-6, on Sunday (Jan. 24) as part of the Michigan
Kick-Off inside Canham Natatorium. Nine different Wolverines found
the back of the cage on the day, led by senior Cara Reitz
(Miami, Fla./Gulliver) with a goal in each game and five
Junior Morgan Turner (Mission Viejo, Calif./Trabuco Hills) made five stops to hold the Bruins to just six goals after they had scored 32 times in their first two games of the tournament. Sophomore Alex Adamson (Coronado, Calif./Coronado) and junior Tara Brigham (Baytown, Texas/Sterling) combined to make nine stops against the Cardinal.
Michigan took the Bruins to the brink in a contest that came down to who would score last. Midway through the opening frame senior Alison Mantel (Miami, Fla./Gulliver) set out to erase an early two-goal lead for UCLA, slipping a shot under the crossbar to cut the lead in half. Sophomore Lauren Colton (Tustin, Calif./Tesoro) knotted the game up from two meters, leaving the teams even after the first period. The Bruins scored three straight goals in the second period to give them a 5-2 edge at the break.
In just under nine minutes of game time, the Maize and Blue erased the deficit with three consecutive markers of its own. Reitz sparked the comeback bid with a low skip shot 2:34 into the third period. Less than three minutes later, freshman Kelsey Nolan (San Jose, Calif./Leland) took a pass from senior Lauren Orth (Poway, Calif./Poway) on the left post and slammed a shot into the back of the cage. Sophomore Kiki Golden (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) knotted the score at 5-5 on a one-timer from senior Keller Felt (La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla) just 40 seconds after the final sprint. The tie score did not last, however, as UCLA retook the lead for good with a power-play goal with 6:33 remaining. Both teams tried to find an advantage in the waning minutes, but big saves in each cage kept the score where it was.
Michigan kept the Cardinal at bay through the first period and tied the score at 2-2 on a junior Meagan Cobb (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) skip shot from two meters. Following the goal, Stanford went on an eight-goal run that put the Cardinal ahead 10-2 early in the third period.
The Maize and Blue broke the string on a goal from Orth midway through the frame. Freshman Hathaway Moore (Atherton, Calif./Saint Francis) cut the deficit to six goals when she redirected a lob from classmate Audrey Pratt (Burlingame, Calif./Burlingame) into the top of the net two minutes later. The Stanford offense proved too much, scoring five more times in the final nine minutes of regulation. Pratt and Moore both scored in the final stanza, but it was not enough to catch the nation's top-ranked team.
The Wolverines make the first of three trips to California next weekend, taking on No. 12-ranked UC Santa Barbara and Concordia (Calif.) on Friday (Jan 28) at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. PST, respectively. Michigan will then take part in the UCSB Winter Invitational on Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 29-30).
Release courtesy Michigan Athletic Communications