The water polo team was looking to share a little Michigan love
this weekend. Unfortunately for Michigan’s opponents, it
wasn’t the type of Valentine’s Day love they were
looking for.

The Wolverines (10-3 overall) went undefeated at the Princeton
Invitational this weekend, soundly defeating all four teams they
faced. It was exactly the kind of pick-up the squad needed coming
off a rough outing at the Stanford Invitational last weekend.

“The girls understood what these games meant,” coach
Matt Anderson said. “We were here to re-establish that we are
a very good team, and I am extremely pleased with how things turned
out.”

The main event for the Wolverines, and perhaps the entire
invitational, was their Saturday evening contest against No. 17
Brown. The Bears, who were undefeated entering the invitational,
had knocked Michigan out of the 2003 Eastern Conference semifinals.
There was no question No. 8 Michigan had long awaited an
opportunity at revenge.

The game began in a deadlock as both teams fought for possession
and control. Three minutes in, though, Michigan’s offense
came alive with goals from junior Erin Brown and freshman phenom
Shana Welch. From there, the Wolverines never looked back, taking a
7-1 lead into halftime.

While the second half was more balanced, Brown could hardly
mount a significant comeback due to Michigan’s impervious
defense and stellar goaltending by junior Betsey Armstrong, who
registered 12 saves in the game. In the end, Michigan enjoyed the
sweet taste of revenge, defeating Brown 9-4.

The other ranked opponent on Michigan’s schedule was the
host of the Invitational, Princeton. While the game did not have
the same emotional atmosphere as the Brown contest did, it
nonetheless was a crucial game to win.

“We came out here most concerned about Brown and
Princeton,” Anderson said. “Everyone knows you have to
beat Brown and Princeton to get through the East, so we wanted to
make sure we made a statement this weekend against those two
teams.”

The team made more than a statement, defeating No. 19 Princeton
10-4 Sunday. Amidst another solid team performance, Welch
demonstrated not only that she can score, but that she is just as
good on the other end of the pool.

“Shana is already establishing herself as a great
player,” Anderson said. “She has been scoring
(consistently) and her defense is great as well.”

Michigan’s other two games came against unranked
opponents. In their first challenge Saturday afternoon, the
Wolverines dominated George Washington, winning 17-4. Senior Julie
Nisbet notched the ninth hat-trick of her career while senior
co-captain Rachel Burkons had three assists to set a career high.
In its final match-up Sunday afternoon, Michigan defeated Wagner in
the teams’s first-ever meeting. It was also an interesting
game in that Wagner’s first-year coach, Aaron Cavagnolo,
served as an assistant at Michigan last season.

“We did what we did this weekend because of the experience
we got playing out west last weekend,” said Shettal Narsai,
who surpassed the 100-steal mark this weekend and increased her
standing as Michigan’s career leader in steals.”

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