A whistle blew and a mad dash ensued toward the middle of the pool. The first swimmer to reach the ball tipped it to a teammate, and within seconds a goal was scored. Moments later another followed, putting the Michigan water polo team up 2-0 over Colorado State.

Junior attack Kiki Golden was the instigator. While setting the tone for the 10-3 rout Sunday afternoon and establishing momentum going into the remainder of the quarter, Golden managed to score twice within the first minute of play against the Rams at Canham Natatorium.

The Wolverines rumbled to a 10-3 victory. For a team as defensively oriented as Michigan, the opening offensive momentum was immensely helpful.

“It’s the biggest,” Golden said. “It kind of pumps you up for the rest of the game, because you get in there and you want to start a roll.”

The Wolverines certainly did appear to be on a roll. What followed was a barrage of scoring for Michigan, putting them up 6-1 in the first quarter.

Golden was similarly effective in the Wolverines’ other weekend matches, scoring twice in both matches Saturday, and four times against a stout No. 3 UCLA team Sunday morning.

Michigan coach Matt Anderson found her performance against UCLA particularly impressive.

“Teams are going to key on Kiki Golden,” he said. “She’s going to be the first Michigan field player ever to be a four-time All-American, even though she’s only a junior. She’s one of the top players in the nation, so they’re going to take her out of the game. But she’ll get hers. She got four against UCLA, and they knew to take her out of the game.”

Though containing Golden may be a goal of opposing defenses, Colorado State failed to do so. Anderson sums up his game plan in simple terms: “Go hard after the ball, and if they happen to be in the way, they’re in the way, but you’re going for the ball.”

This aggressive attitude served Michigan well. After a scoreless second quarter, the Wolverines went on the attack again. Michigan players beat Colorado State’s defense twice in each of the two remaining quarters to make the final tally 10-3.

The momentum established early by Golden set up the Wolverines nicely for the victory. Her quick and aggressive contributions seemed to have elevated the play of her teammates, inspiring them to defeat Colorado State by a wider margin then they had Saturday. In all, eight different Michigan players scored against the Rams in what was a tremendous team effort.

With a blowout win over Colorado State, Golden and the rest of the team improve their record to 2-2.

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