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Michigan water polo wins 2 of 3 in CWPA League tournament

By Marina Nazario, For the Daily
Published April 13, 2014

In their last home games of the 2014 season, the Michigan water polo seniors left Canham Natatorium with not just one win, but a pair of victories — both in dominant fashion.

The Wolverines played Hartwick, Gannon and Notre Dame (Ohio) during the Central Water Polo Association tournament Saturday and Sunday. Michigan fell to Hartwick 10-6, and won both games versus Gannon, 15-5 and Notre Dame (Ohio), 15-5.

It was Senior Night on Saturday when Michigan played Hartwick. The game was tied 3-3 after a low-scoring first half. Hartwick scored the first goal of the game and lead 2-1 after the first quarter.

Freshman two-meter Allison Skaggs attempted a backhand shot, which hit the crossbar, demonstrating the trend which continued throughout the game, as Michigan had great chances on shots that didn’t see the net.

Then Michigan stepped it up with 30 seconds left in the half scoring back-to-back goals from Skaggs and sophomore two-meter Barbara Lanier.

In the third quarter, Michigan stopped Hartwick on a 6-on-5, while senior attacker Kelsey Nolan drew a five-meter penalty and sophomore driver Presley Pender made the score. The score was tied at five with 30 seconds left in the third when Hartwick scored with four seconds left.

In the fourth quarter, Hartwick scored three straight goals, then one more with a minute left, while Michigan scored one goal by Skaggs from a two-meter 6-on-5. Hartwick won, 10-6.

“They took advantage of four bad offensive turnovers by us to score two goals,” said Michigan coach Matt Anderson. “That was the difference right there.”

After the tough loss to Hartwick on Saturday night, Anderson had a plan in mind for the two games on Sunday in order to prepare for Easterns in two weeks.

“Today I was looking for the group that works well together, which is not always the most talented group,” Anderson said. “We felt the groups we used in the game versus Gannon were the groups that can maybe play together and accomplish what we want them to for Easterns.”

Michigan defeated Gannon, 15-5, with nine different players scoring. They led at the half, 10-4, and only allowed Gannon one goal in the second half.

In the game against Notre Dame (Ohio), Michigan continued to dominate, winning, 15-5. Anderson played the freshmen in the first quarter and the sophomores and the two juniors in the second quarter. For the third quarter, he told the seniors that they could pick a player to play with, making it a fun last game for the seniors to play at home.

The three seniors each scored the last three goals of the game. The trio has been playing together or against one other for the past eight years starting in high school in Northern California.

“I’m so proud of us for sticking it out and pushing through the four years together,” Nolan said.

“They have been pleasant to coach, they work hard, their effort is there and they have all gotten better,” Anderson said. “They’re all having their best year during their senior year and that’s important.”