War for Four is On: No. 6 University of Michigan Manages No. 19 University of Maryland 11-6 to Advance Wolverines to CWPA Eastern Championship Title Game

Ryley Plunkett
Ryley Plunkett

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- No. 6-ranked the University of Michigan managed No. 19 University of Maryland 11-6 to advance the three-time defending Eastern Champion Wolverines to a chance for their historic fourth straight Eastern title tomorrow against either No. 12 Hartwick College or No. 13 Indiana University.

Michigan will look to make history as the Wolverines can become the first program since Slippery Rock University (1988-96) to win four straight Eastern Championship after claiming the 2008, 2009 and 2010 crowns. 

Overall, the Maize and Blue will be seeking its sixth Eastern crown after capturing the 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010 crowns.  An Indiana-Michigan matchup would provide an interesting note as the Wolverines have won four of the their titles, including the past three, in dark blue caps.  Only twice have the Wolverines taken a title in lily white - 2009 at Harvard University and in 2005 when Michigan knocked off the host Hoosiers of Indiana by an 8-7 final and advanced to the NCAA Championship.  Additionally, the NCAA tournament was at home in Ann Arbor, Mich. for the Wolverines in 2005, which ironically is also the site of the 2011 NCAA Championship.

A 10-time Western Division champion, the Wolverines are guaranteed to meet one of their division sisters in the title tilt as Hartwick moved over to the Western Divsion during the summer to join Michigan, Indiana, Gannon University, Mercyhurst College and former Southern Divsion member Bucknell University. 

Further, Michigan will now appear in eight of the last 10 Eastern title games, missing out in 2003 (Indiana vs. Brown University) and 2007 (Hartwick vs. Princeton University), falling in 2004 (vs. Hartwick) and 2006 (vs. Hartwick) while knocking off Hartwick (2002, 2008, 2009), Indiana (2005, 2010) to highlight a reign of dominance that may have another chapter to be written in the 2011 title game.

Against the Terrapins, Michigan attempted to go for a first period knockout coming out with speed and a high-powered offense looking to put Maryland away and rest the Wolverines' starters for tomorrow's title game.

The tactic worked to some extent as Meagan Cobb (Jr., Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) unleashed back-to-back scoring shots at 7:39 and 5:20 to give Michigan a 2-0 advantage - a lead the Maize & Blue would relinquish just one during the remainder of the semifinal fight.

Southern Division Player of the Year Allison Campbell (So., Maple Ridge, B.C./Maple Ridge Secondary) pulled her team back into the game by deking through the swarming sea of blue suits and caps to bury a pass at 4:10, but Keller Felt (Sr., La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla) made it a 3-1 game with the first of two markers on the day.

Unable to far further behind in the early going, the Terrapins picked up the pace with a man-up goal by Maddie Murphy (Fr., Coronado, Calif./Coronado) at 1:49 and a point blank rocket by Ally Beck (Sr., Mission Viego, Calif./Santa Margarita) 48 seconds later to even the score at 3-3 and put the champs on the ropes.

Facing a back-and-forth slugfest, Michigan turned up the defensive pressure while receiving a natural goal by Kiki Golden (So., Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) at the 7:29 mark of the second period to go back in front to stay.

Michigan goalie Alex Adamson (So., Coronado, Calif./Coronado) stifled the Maryland shooters during the course of the period by turning aside three shots and directing her defense, including senior Ryley Plunkett (Sr., Modesto, Calif./Johansen), to block down shots in the field to keep the Terrapins off the board for the remainder of the first half.

While the defense was hampering the best efforst of Maryland, the Wolverines' offense continued to exert pressure on Maryland netminder Shelby Reyes (Jr., Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) putting six shots on cage with three eluding the Southern Division First Team goalie.

Player of the Game Lauren Colton (So., Tustin, Calif./Tesoro) became Reyes nemesis in the period harassing the Maryland defense on each possession before netting a natural goal at 1:54 and a man-up marker at 1:26 to give Michgian a 6-3 lead at intermission.

The margin exploded to 8-3 before the Terrapins could find an answer as Felt and Colton caromed shots around Reyes at 6:05 and 5:24, respectively, to open the third period.

Beck finally snapped the Wolverines' five goal run with a tally at 3:40, but Alison Mantel (Sr., Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) would not be denied at 2:43 of the period to return the spread to five at 9-4.

Katie Ermakova (Fr., Columbia, Md./Wilde Lake) attempted to start the Terrapins' comeback bid by converting a man-up bid at 1:12 of the third before Campbell uncorked a shot into the lower left corner of the cage with 6:08 remaining in the fourth period to make it 9-6.

Needing either a defensive stand, more offense or a little of Column A & B to put the turtles on their backs once and for all, the duo of Kelsey Nolan (Fr., San Jose, Calif./Leland) and Golden chipped in natural (4:48) and man-up (4:12) goals to set the final score and advance the Wolverines to their fourth consecutive title game appearance.

In the cage, Adamson finished with eight saves to improve to 5-0 all-time in CWPA Eastern Championship play, while Reyes notched 13 saves for Maryland.

Maryland will conclude their participation in the tournament at 1:30 p.m. versus the loser of the Indiana-Hartwick semifinal.  The 1997 Eastern Champion, the Terrapins have a chance to equal their best finish at the Eastern Championship in the modern era under head coach Carl Salyer.  A title game qualifier in 1997, 1998 and 1999, Maryland became a varsity program in 2001 and has since placed seventh (2007, 2010), sixth (2006), fourth (2008) and third (2009) in the championship field with Salyer on the bench.


1 2 3 4 -- Final
No 19 University of Maryland 3
-- 6
No. 6 University of Michigan
-- 11

Michigan Goals: Lauren Colton (3); Meagan Cobb (2); Keller Felt (2); Kiki Golden (2); Kelsey Nolan; Alison Mantel

Maryland Goals: Ally Beck (2); Allison Campbell (2); Maddie Murphy; Katie Ermakova

Saves: Michigan - Alex Adamson (8) ; Maryland - Shelby Reyes (13)

Exclusions: Michigan - 16 ; Maryland - 7

Advantage Opportunities:  Michigan - 2-for-7 ; Maryland - 2-for-16

Sprints: Michigan - 3-for-4 ; Maryland - 1-for-4

Cards: YC - Matt Anderson (Michigan)

Officials: Alex Stankevith, Humberto Navarro 

Sarah Roberts prepares to shoot over Maryland's Maddie Murphy in CWPA Eastern Championship Semifinal

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