As the regular season winds down, the No. 7 Michigan water polo team prepares for its last postseason with All-American captain Leah Robertson. Leading both vocally and by example, on Sunday she showed everyone her great leadership skills.
Coming off an off-week, the Wolverines looked to head into postseason play with some momentum.
And Robertson carried Michigan (26-6) past host Maryland (13-13) on Sunday, leading the way with five goals in a closer-than-anticipated 11-7 victory. Michigan won all three weekend games including two against host Maryland and a blowout against George Washington (7-14).
Despite going 4-0 since Robertson’s return, including a victory over rival Indiana, coach Matt Anderson is still concerned that his now full squad is not completely back in sync.
“Fortunately, we were able to come get three games in and that helps,” Anderson said. “It gives us a chance, going into the postseason, having some familiarity playing together. That’s what you want. We’re going to be healthy and that’s good, because we really haven’t been healthy all year.”
And it was evident two weeks ago when Michigan did little offensively against Indiana. The entire team was hesitant to shoot open, outside shots and with Indiana dropping defensively little was open inside.
With Robertson back, the Wolverines looked much more fluid this weekend offensively, but aren’t yet at the level they were before her injury. The team’s recent inconsistent offensive play has been anchored by a solid defense, particularly when freshman Alex Adamson is in net. Since redshirt senior Brittany May has been hindered by a shoulder injury, Adamson has emerged as a solid starter in net and has held the Wolverines together.
Tied 5-5 at the half, Adamson came in and shut down the Terrapins, giving up just two goals in the second half and none in the pivotal fourth period. Her impressive play in net led to two breakaway goals and a Michigan victory, holding Maryland to just seven goals. And her work in anchoring the defense has become apparent to Anderson.
Although confident in his other goalies, May and freshman Morgan Turner, Anderson made clear that Adamson is the Wolverines’ starting goalie.
In two weeks, the Wolverines return to Maryland in hopes of securing their third consecutive NCAA bid from the Eastern regional. Anderson hopes these three wins at the Eppley Recreation Center will prepare his girls for upcoming single-elimination games.
“You don’t want to have a big loll before you play games that are single elimination,” Anderson said. “We got an opportunity to play in the pool that in two weeks we’ve got to come back to, to win the NCAA bid. … That momentum right there should be familiarity that will make our girls a little more comfortable.”