Wolverines remain optimistic despite 0-3 weekend in California

By Lev Facher, Daily Sports Writer
Published January 27, 2013

The Michigan women’s water polo team fell to three California schools on the road in the San Francisco Bay Area, enduring a second consecutive disappointing weekend against top-10 competition.

On Friday, the Wolverines (1-6) lost to No. 1 Stanford, 11-2. Freshman two-meter Bryce Beckwith and senior attacker Kiki Golden each scored in Michigan’s losing effort, while goalie Alex Adamson saved 10 shots, a season high.

The Cardinal led 4-2 at halftime before pulling away with three unanswered goals in the third quarter. The Wolverines were unable to deal with Stanford’s senior two-meter Melissa Seidemann — a former United States Olympic gold medalist — who scored five goals on the day.

In seven games, No. 10 Michigan has faced six top-10 opponents, a fact not lost on the Wolverine players and coaching staff.

“We have to learn what we do well and what we don’t do well,” said Michigan coach Matt Anderson. “And when you play a team that isn't as challenging, you really don’t get to notice those things.”

On Saturday morning, Michigan faced off against San Jose State. The game was a rematch from the Michigan Kick-Off event one week prior in Ann Arbor, in which the Spartans prevailed, 9-6.

In Saturday’s contest, San Jose State pulled away in the third quarter, scoring three unanswered goals, just as Stanford did the day before. The first quarter ended with the score knotted at three, and the Wolverines trailed narrowly at halftime, 4-3.

Golden, along with freshmen drivers Presley Pender and Gabriella Serure each scored once in the first quarter. Golden scored again in the fourth quarter, but the single goal was too little, too late for Michigan, and the Spartans came away with a 9-4 victory.

“We appreciate the fact that Kiki is still able to perform at a high level, even though teams are trying to not allow her to,” Anderson said.

Later on Saturday, the Wolverines made the 46-mile drive north to Berkeley to face California. Michigan led 2-1 in the middle of the first quarter after goals from Pender and junior attacker Lauren Dudley, but was easily outscored by the Golden Bears in the second quarter and faced a 7-3 deficit at halftime.

In the second half, freshman defender Emily Sejna scored the first three goals of her collegiate career on her first three shots as a Wolverine. The hat trick came in a losing effort, though, as California emerged with a 14-7 victory.

“It’s about putting (the freshmen) into situations to see how they would respond,” Anderson said. “I was not expecting that out of Emily, but you’re always hoping for that. They weren’t gun-shy at all.”

Adamson moved to second on the list of all-time Michigan saves leaders on Saturday — her 23 saves over the weekend put her career total at 486.

“She actually had a good weekend,” Anderson said, admitting that the numbers made it hard to draw the same conclusion. “We relied on her a little bit more than we should’ve — I think Alex is playing as well right now over any point in the four years of her career here.”

Adamson voiced her disappointment with the way the start of the season has gone, but she conceded that the level of competition the Wolverines have faced, combined with the team’s relative lack of experience, made it difficult to be too upset about the 1-6 start.

“We’re definitely playing against the best right now,” Adamson said. “I think that’s the best way to start the season.

“In a perfect world, I wouldn’t ever give up a shot. But we’re learning to play as a unit … I have to take my ego out of it a little bit.”