Reyes Saves the Day as No. 14 University of Maryland Shocks No. 10 University of Michigan, 9-8, to Reach First-Ever CWPA Eastern Championship Game
PROVIDENCE, RI -- Player of the Game Shelby Reyes (Sr., Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) saved a five-meter penalty shot by Kiki Golden (Jr., Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) with no time left on the clock as No. 14/No. 4 seed University of Maryland upended No. 10/No. 1 seed University of Michigan 9-8 to advance to the program's first-ever Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern Championship varsity title game.
The victory moves the Terrapins (19-6) into a 4:30 p.m. showdown on Sunday, April 29 back at Brown University's Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center against No. 13 Princeton University in a title game showdown of two rising programs on the national scene. Princeton, which defeated the host Bears of Brown 7-6 OT to reach the program's first Eastern title game since the 2007 season, is 0-1 against the Terrapins having fallen 7-6 on March 31 in College Park, Md.
Maryland never trailed in the game opening up a 3-0 lead in the first period as Allison Campbell (Jr., Maple Ridge, B.C./Maple Ridge Secondary School), Katie Ermakova (So., Columbia, Md./Wilde Lake) and Nicole Tobin (So., Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) punched in shots at 6:55, 3:31 and 1:46, respectively.
Key during the opening period was the play of Reyes who faced four shots on cage and turned away the quartet, including a five-meter penalty shot, to keep the Maize & Blue off the scoreboard and on their heels.
Following a pair of fruitless man-up chances to expand their lead, the Terrapins allowed a goal as Golden fired a five-meter penalty shot to the right of Reyes that eluded the senior netminder at the 5:06 mark of the second quarter to make it 3-1. The play, however, would pay dividends for Reyes' most important save with no time remaining on the clock in allowing her to learn Golden's tendencies on five-meter tries.
Michigan trimmed the margin back to a single score less than two minutes later as Lauren Dudley (So., Okemos, Mich./Okemos) broke free for a natural tally at 3:34, but the Terrpains responded 53 seconds later when Campbell canned her second strike of the day at 2:41 to return the gap to a pair at 4-2.
Facing the risk of an early hole from which Michigan would need to climb out of in the second half, the Wolverines knotted the scoreboard at four-all prior to the conclusion of the first half.
Dudley continued the comeback as she converted on a man-up shot at 2:16 brought about by the ejection of Campbell at 2:25. Hathaway Moore (So., Atherton, Calif./Saint Francis) completed the rally by flipping a shot around Reyes with 24 seconds left in the quarter to make it a four-to-four tie at halftime.
The game then became a defensive struggle highlighted by occassional scoring and plentiful ejections as the teams combined to go on the power-play eight times over the final 16 minutes of play.
Maryland regained the lead in the contest just 31 seconds into the new half as Carly Hoshko (Sr., Coronado, Calif./Coronado) scored at 7:29, but the Wolverines answered at 6:23 with a blast by Meagan Cobb (Sr., Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) to put the game back into a deadlock at five-all.
Again, the Terps went back in front as Tobin drilled a shot past Michigan goalie Alex Adamson (Jr., Coronado, Calif./Coronado) at 5:09 after an ejecion to Simone Lewis (Jr., Auckland, New Zealand/Diocesan School) expired, but Golden returned a tied score to the competition with a howitzer shot at the 2:18 mark.
Strangely, Golden's goal appeared to turn the momentum towards Maryland and away from her team as Hoshko scored with seven seconds left in the third quarter and Tobin turned her defender and deposited a shot 19 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Terrapins an 8-6 lead.
Tobin's goal would prove vital to Maryland's victory hopes as the two-goal margin forced Michigan to double the output of the Terps the rest of the way to tie the game.
Needing a quick score to trim the deficit to a managable quantity, Cobb appeared to ignite another Wolverines' rally as she made hay with 4:13 on the clock following the ejection of Lewis at 4:30 to move Maryland within 8-7.
However, the team from the Old Line State (Maryland) held on as Campbell completed the first hat-trick of the game at 3:22 with a man-up score as back-up goalie Morgan Turner (Sr., Mission Viego, Calif./Trabuco Hills) went to the corner with an ejection. The tally marked her squad's ninth score and the eventual game-winner as the Terrapins' defense in front of Reyes limited Michigan's ability to put the ball on the cage.
Michigan and Maryland refused to cruise to the final horn, however, as head coaches Matt Anderson (Michigan) and Carl Salyer (Maryland) took dueling yellow cards at 3:22 and 2:02 before Kelsey Nolan (So., San Jose, Calif./Leland) registered a man-up goal to close the gap to 9-8 and put the pressure on Maryland to run out the clock.
Thanks to the ability to exert pressure on defense, Michigan regained the ball with 29 seconds remaining and called an immediate 30 seconds timeout to draw-up a play.
Needing a last second score to force another overtime contest in the semfinals, the Maize & Blue worked the ball around the perimeter before attempting to drive on the cage with three seconds remaining on the game clock.
Michigan was unable to get a shot off as the Terrapins' defense collapsed around the open Wolverines' shooters as the clock ticked down to two and one before the final horn and the whistle of referee Alex Stankevitch blew simultaneously with a penalty call on Campbell to allow the Maize & Blue one final chance at a miracle finish.
With no time on the game clock, and no chance of a put back, Stankevitch and fellow official Hadi Farid cleared the ball with both programs' seasons, hopes, dreams and possible conference title/National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bid hopes riding on the arm and aim of Golden.
Going one-one-one with the Maryland goalie for the third time in the game after failing at 6:36 of the first quarter and succeeding at 5:06 of the second quarter, Golden elected to try Reyes' right arm once again.
However, the Terps' netminder was already leaning towards the side and would not be fooled again as she swatted the ball down into the water to end the game and a drought of varsity postseason title game appearances by Maryland.
Maryland, which has now won 14 of its past 17 games, will make its first try at the Eastern Championship as a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) varsity program. Previously, Maryland has appeared in four Eastern title tilts and will make their first apperance for the league title since 1999.
The 1997 Eastern champion courtesy a victory over Slippery Rock University, Maryland previously played for the title in 1998 and 1999 as the Terps fell to the Minutemen of the University of Massachusetts in both of its most recent tries.
From the standpoint of championships, the meeting was a battle of the Western Division's best from the regular season and postseason as Maryland went undefeated in the division during the regular season with a 5-0 mark, while the Wolverines were the best at the Western Division championship tournament in going 2-0 to claim the postseason crown.
For Michigan, Dudley, Cobb and Golden each finished with pairs of goals to lead the way, while Adamson turned aside seven shots in accepting the loss.
The loss drops the Wolverines to 29-8 all-time at the Eastern Championship, including a 23-7 mark under Anderson, as Michigan will not appear in the conference title game for only the third time in the past 11-years and the first time in the past five seasons.
The 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Eastern Champion, the program previously missed out on the 2003 (Indiana University vs. Brown University) and 2007 (Hartwick College vs. Princeton) title games. In addition, Michigan had appeared in four straight Eastern title games (2011, 2010, 2009, 2008) as the Wolverines fail to become the first program to appear in five straight championship contests since the 1998-to-1997 Slippery Rock University squads.
Maryland, which is is already guaranteed the Terrapins best finish at the Eastern Championship under Salyer following seventh (2007, 2010), sixth (2006), fourth (2008) and third (2009, 2011) place marks during his tenure, was keyed by Tobin and Campbell with hat-tricks.
Reyes, who needed to turn away three shots in the final period to preserve the win, finished the game with nine saves as she is allowing six goals with 10.1 saves per contest through two games at the championship. In Maryland's opening round game, she turned away 12 shots in helping Maryland down No. 17/Western Division runner-up Hartwick College, 7-4.
|No. 14 University of Maryland||3||1
|No. 10 University of Michigan
Michigan Goals: Lauren Dudley (2); Meagan Cobb
(2); Kiki Golden (2); Kelsey Nolan; Hathaway Moore
Maryland Goals: Nicole Tobin (3); Allison
Campbell (3); Katie Ermakova; Danielle Robinson; Carly Hoshko
Saves: Michigan - Alex Adamson (7, 24 minutes), Morgan Turner (1, 8 minutes) ; Maryland - Shelby Reyes (9)
Exclusions: Michigan - 5 ; Maryland - 9
Advantage Opportunities: Michigan - 4-for-9 ; Maryland - 1-for-5
Sprints: Michigan - 1-for-4 (First) ; Maryland - 3-for-4 (Second, Third, Fourth)
Cards: YC - Michigan (Matt Anderson, 3:22 of
Third Period), Maryland (Carl Salyer, 2:02 of Third
Officials: Alex Stankevitch, Hadi Farid
University of Maryland goalie Shelby Reyes
University of Michigan's Kelsey Nolan defends University of Maryland's Danielle Robinson
University of Michigan's Audrey Pratt