Heading into the first Collegiate Water Polo Association
divisional weekend of the season, the Michigan women’s water
polo team had never lost to Indiana at the varsity level, compiling
a 13-0-1 record since 2001.

Mira Levitan
Sophomore Jineane Shibuya drives the ball against Michigan State earlier this season. (FILE PHOTO)

Some things never change.

Led by a strong defensive performance, No. 8 Michigan defeated
No. 10 Indiana, 4-1, Saturday in Bloomington. Junior Betsey
Armstrong had a school-record 24 saves.

Earlier in the day, Michigan defeated Slippery Rock and Grove
City by scores of 17-8 and 13-3, respectively. Sophomore Amy Burgin
led the Wolverines’ scoring attack in both games with four
goals against Slippery Rock and three goals against Grove City. The
biggest concern for Michigan coach Matt Anderson after the first
two games was that his team would have a letdown against
Indiana.

“We still stayed focused for Indiana and that’s the
reason we came down here,” Anderson said.

Freshman Shana Welch scored the first goal of the game against
the Hoosiers, but 93 seconds later, Indiana tied the game at 1-1.
Anderson believed Welch was a “huge” part of the win,
playing “very well” in her first extended playing time
of the season.

In the second period, the Wolverines were unable to score on
three power-play opportunities, and the game remained tied until
the end of the third period, when junior Sheetal Narsai converted
on a four-meter penalty

attempt.

Anderson said his team did not initially play well offensively
against Indiana, attributing some struggles to the games against
Slippery Rock and Grove City.

“I think that with the first two games we were kind of
lulled into playing a slower game,” Anderson said. “We
readjusted and came out in the second half and played like we are
capable of.”

Junior Erin Brown and sophomore Megan Hausmann each scored in
the fourth period to give Michigan the win.

In spite of Michigan’s offensive woes in the first half,
Anderson was pleased with his team’s overall performance,
particularly its ability to focus on defense while playing in front
of a loud crowd.

“The girls needed to go into an unfriendly
environment,” Anderson said. “They needed to not play
well and still come away with a win.”

With the three wins on Saturday, Michigan improved its all-time
regular-season conference record to 27-0. More important for
Anderson, the Wolverines beat a good team — and their biggest
rival — in Indiana.

“Anytime you can get a victory over a top-10 team,
it’s a positive,” Anderson said. “And we surely
didn’t want to lose to another Big Ten team.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *