The No. 9 Michigan water polo team came out strong in its first match of the Red Fox Invitational in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Wolverines had a 4-2 lead going into the second period until their opponent, the Iona Gaels, evened the score by the end of the first half. But an explosion of goals led to an even better second half and eventually a victory for Michigan.

Junior Kiki Golden led the Wolverines with help from teammates junior Lauren Colton, freshman Lauren Thatcher and sophoore Lauren Dudley. Golden outscored the entire Gaels team by herself in the third period, with three of her season-high six goals coming after halftime.

Those six goals were not only a personal record but a season-high for the team. Colton added two goals of her own, while Thatcher and Dudley helped the Wolverines by adding one goal each.

“(Iona) allowed us to counter,” Golden said of Michigan’s offensive success. “Also, they left us open on some drives and we had some good 6-on-5 opportunities when there were ejections. We were driving more and we had better spacing.”

The Wolverines worked to keep their winning ways going throughout the weekend, and capped off the invitational on Saturday night against Brown.

The Wolverines had not lost to Brown in nearly five years, so confidence levels were high, especially after their victory over Iona earlier that day. But unlike the morning contest, Michigan got off to a rather slow start.

The Wolverines trailed 2-0 after the first period. The game was silent through the second period until Michigan’s Golden fired two shots into the back of the cage in just two minutes. Soon after Golden tied the game, Colton scored at the 2:10 mark of the second quarter to give the Wolverines the edge — but not for long.

The Bears quickly answered 23 seconds later with a goal of their own to knot the score at three heading into halftime. Shortly after the break, Audrey Pratt gave Michigan a 4-3 lead with a goal of her own. Brown continued to fight back with two goals to end the third period and to give the Bears a one-goal edge heading into the final period.

Brown quickly added another goal to its lead until Thatcher whipped in another tally for the Wolverines. But the Bears scored with 57 seconds left in the game to give Brown the 7-5 victory over the Wolverines.

In the final two games at the invitational, Michigan quickly rebounded from their tough loss to Brown and picked up two wins. The first game on Sunday was an overtime thriller against N0. 16 Hartwick. Kelsey Nolan and Lauren Thatcher posted hat tricks to propel Michigan to victory. Two of Nolan’s goals came in overtime, while Thatcher completed her hat trick with a goal of her own in overtime.

The Wolverines capped off the tournament later that afternoon with a convincing 10-7 win against tournament host, Marist University. Pratt and Nolan each lit up the scoreboard with two goals to polish off Michigan’s success this weekend in New York.

Michigan coach Matt Anderson noted the difference between the team’s success on Saturday and Sunday.

“We scored two goals yesterday in one game in the shallow end,” Anderson said. “(Sunday) in OT, we score two goals in one minute in the shallow end.”

The Wolverines’ 3-1 record over the weekend gave them something to smile about on the trip back to Ann Arbor. They look forward to being home for a while as they prepare for next weekend’s Wolverine Invite.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.