The Michigan women’s water polo will head out to sunny and
warm Palo Alto, Calif., this weekend to play in the Stanford
Invite. Don’t get too jealous, though, because this trip will
be all business. The Wolverines will be facing Stanford and
Southern California, which, according to Michigan coach Matt
Anderson are “the two best teams in the country, even though
they are rated two and three.” The No. 1 ranked team is
UCLA.

Candace Mui
Michigan head coach Matt Anderson hopes to be all smiles this weekend as his Wolverines travel to Palo Alto to take on Southern Cal. and Stanford. (RYAN WEINER/Daily)

Michigan has yet to beat either of these teams in its short
history, but the Wolverines remain confident.

“This is probably the first time Michigan can say that
they belong in the same pool against these teams,” Anderson
said. “Now we’ve just got to go out and prove
it.”

In Stanford and Southern Cal., Michigan will be facing its
toughest competition yet this season.

“We’re hoping to step up our game,” Anderson
said. “Our plan is to try and not give them extra possessions
and to try and control the ball a little bit more than we would
against most teams. We have an opportunity to compete against the
two best teams in the nation, and I think we can be
competitive.”

In order to control the ball and capitalize on other
team’s mistakes, Anderson believes that the team needs to be
able to go to the key players they rely on for most games. Those
players include veteran Julie Nisbet, freshman Shana Welch and
All-American Sheetal Narsai. Though the talent of those three is
important to the team, Anderson knows he needs more this
weekend.

“I need number one to number twelve to step up,” he
said.

Anderson knows his team is going to have to work hard this
weekend. He’s looking at this tournament as a good chance to
judge his team’s standing compared to these top teams. These
teams’ status as the best teams in the nation motivates the
girls, but Anderson believes the fact that Michigan has never
beaten these teams does not increase its desire to win.

“We want to win every game, whether it’s against a
team we’ve beaten before or a team we haven’t beaten
before,” Anderson said.

These teams are tough, but Michigan has one secret weapon
against Southern Cal. — assistant coach Jennifer Durley, who
played and coached for the Trojans.

“She’s helpful in telling us about individually what
various players might do,” Anderson said.

This won’t have a big effect on the upcoming game because
“she doesn’t necessarily know what the coach’s
game plan might be,” according to Anderson. But the
Wolverines will be happy to have her on their side when they get in
the pool this Saturday.

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