On Sunday, senior Michelle Keeley scored five goals against Bucknell and mobilized the Wolverine offense as Michigan left the Princeton Invitational with a successful 3-1 record.
Michigan defeated George Washington, 20-3, Saturday. The next day, the Wolverines beat Bucknell, 11-8, and host Princeton, 9-5.
Michigan’s 10-9 loss to No. 6 San Diego State Saturday was a nail-biter, similar to many of the close losses Michigan has suffered this season. Riding the offensive production of Julie Hyrne, Mary Chatigny and Alison Mantel, the Wolverines again attempted a last-period comeback that eventually fell short as the Aztecs scored with under a minute remaining.
“It’s tough losing these close games,” Michigan coach Matt Anderson said. “We are just as good as anybody out there. We’re on the cusp of being able to beat these teams.”
Michigan’s 5-7 record may be deceiving, as their schedule pitted them against just three unranked opponents and five of their losses were by a total of seven goals.
“When this team believes in themselves, it’s hard to stop them,” Anderson said.
The Wolverines weren’t short on faith in their three victories, outscoring opponents 40-16. Against George Washington, eight Wolverines scored multiple goals in the blowout.
“We just had great momentum,” Keeley said. “And that made the difference.”
Keeley was a large part of that difference, netting 10 goals on the weekend.
With Keeley’s clutch performance, Michigan established a two-meter presence, making quick offensive decisions in front of the net, something Anderson compared to a post presence in basketball. Keeley’s showing down low made the squad’s offensive problems look like an afterthought.