The UCSB Winter Invitational was a weekend of mixed results for the Michigan water polo team, but in their game against Fresno State, Abby Andrews was one of the bright spots. The freshman attacker came off the bench to score three goals in the Wolverines’ 11-6 victory over the Bulldogs for her first career hat trick.
No. 9 Michigan (2-2) did exactly as expected this weekend, losing to No. 1 Southern California and No. 3 UCLA while beating No. 18 California State-Northridge and unranked Fresno State.
“This weekend, we probably played at about a B-plus overall, because we played four opponents at four different levels,” said Michigan coach Dr. Marcelo Leonardi. “When we played the defending national champion in USC, I thought we played pretty well. It was 9-2, and to hold an opponent at that level to nine goals is very, very respectable.”
The Wolverines’ offense was out in full force for their two victories in the tournament. Andrews led a dominant offensive performance against Fresno State after four different Wolverines scored twice each in Michigan’s 11-5 win over Cal State-Northridge.
In their other two games, the Wolverines performed better than expected and managed to fight out two relatively close matches against the Trojans—the defending national champions—and the Bruins, two of the top teams in the nation with two of the top-ranked offenses.
In the game against USC, the Trojans scored first, but the Wolverines tied the game on a goal from senior attacker Julia Sellers with six minutes and seven seconds left in the second quarter on an assist from senior utility Kim Johnson. From there, though, USC ran away with the game, scoring eight more times before finally allowing another Michigan goal with a minute and 51 seconds left to play.
The Trojans’ superior fitness and conditioning were a major factor in the match.
“We definitely need to improve a little more on our fitness,” Leonardi said. “Against USC and UCLA, we were fit, but there were also times where I had to rely more heavily on my bench.”
The match against UCLA was especially close, with Michigan down 8-7 with a minute and 39 seconds left on the clock. The Bruins were able to score again and then held onto the lead for the rest of the match, but it was still one of the Wolverines’ most impressive performances this season.
“We were right in that game versus the number three team in the country,” Leonardi said. “I think right now we’re right on or just a little bit ahead of schedule in terms of our development.”