LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan water polo team edged No. 14-ranked Hartwick College, 8-7, to claim its 10th consecutive Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) division crown at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.
Sophomore Kiki Golden (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) dented the twine five times, including the game-winner with 33 seconds remaining. Senior Lauren Orth (Poway, Calif./Poway) extended her point streak to 34 games with a trio of assists and a team-high four steals. Sophomore Alex Adamson (Coronado, Calif./Coronado) made four stops in the cage.
The game came down to the final eight minutes as the teams were deadlocked at 6-6 after three periods. Michigan took the early advantage in the period when junior Meagan Cobb (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) snapped a shot from two meters 55 seconds into the frame. Hartwick leveled the score a minute later, setting up a last-minute finish.
Sophomore Lauren Colton (Tustin, Calif./Tesoro) drew a power play with less than a minute to go and, just as the advantage came to an end, Golden got open on the right side and deposited the decisive goal into the back of the cage. The Hawks had one last offensive opportunity, but Adamson turned aside the chance to clinch the CWPA Western Division crown.
The teams battled back and forth through the first three frames, with Golden scoring a two of her three goals in the second period in the final minute to give the Maize and Blue a 4-3 edge at halftime. Michigan's lead swelled to 6-3 on goals from senior Alison Mantel (Miami, Fla./Gulliver) off the sprint and Golden, before Hartwick rattled off three to send the game into the final stanza.
The 2011 season marks the first time that the CWPA Western Division crown was awarded during the regular season. Michigan had won the previous seven CWPA Western Division tournament championships and a pair of Southern Division tournament crowns before that.
"I am at the age that I can remember when there wasn't postseason to determine league champions whether it was basketball or water polo," said Michigan head coach Matt Anderson.
"It was based on you playing everybody and that determined the champion. It is satisfying because we had to go on the road to defeat three ranked opponents for the title. It was set up for us to really show our worth. I could not be happier for the girls and the seniors for winning the division again. We will focus on finishing this weekend and then to prepare to be the top seed at Easterns."
Release courtesy Michigan Athletic Communications