As often as she finds the back of opponents’ nets with her rapid release and powerful shot, sophomore Lauren Colton of the water polo team is just as likely to fire a sarcastic comment at a teammate to get the whole team howling with laughter.

“I’d have to say, out of the blue, she’ll just make a smart-ass comment or a sarcastic remark that gets everybody laughing,” Michigan water polo coach Matt Anderson said.

Eager to describe Colton’s best quality, Anderson chuckles when he describes her sharp comments as “perfectly-timed,” saying that “she is not afraid to make fun of herself, or of other people in a sarcastic way.”

Even though Colton has become pretty accomplished at the perfectly-timed remark, “Cobra”— as her teammates and coach call her — is just as adept at scoring timely goals.

Against the University of California-Santa Barbara, the Wolverines trailed by a goal in the second overtime. With the clock ticking down, Colton drew a foul and scored the tying goal with only one second remaining.

“She just has a knack for doing that,” Anderson said. “It’s not the first time she’s scored at the buzzer and it won’t be the last.”

While Colton had a fantastic freshman season — tallying 36 goals and 17 assists — the Tustin, Calif. native feels that she’s playing with a lot more confidence this year.

The sophomore admitted that she was in shock and awe at the exceptional talent surrounding her last year. After a year of playing with her teammates, Colton feels more comfortable in her role on the team, approaching the game with more of an understanding.

“As a sophomore, I now have a set position on this team and I know what to do,” Colton said. “When I get in the water, I am mentally more capable of going in there, doing my job, and then coming out for a break.”

Even though she earned her nickname because of her scoring prowess, Anderson believes that Colton offers so much more to her team.

“Cobra has really developed into an all-around player,” Anderson said. “She’s a much, much, better defender — one of the top defenders on the team — than people think.”

While Anderson describes Colton as a powerful player, he emphasized that she’s been working hard to become a faster swimmer. Pointing to her breakaway goal against California State University-Northridge as evidence, Anderson said that she has become quicker and is displaying better conditioning.

“Her shot resembles a cobra striking because it comes at you so quickly,” Anderson said.

With improvements in many facets of her game, such as defense, conditioning and speed, it’s easy to forget Colton’s strength. Although still early in the season, Colton is showcasing to everyone where her nickname comes from. After exceptional play at the UCSB Winter Invitational last weekend, the sophomore now has eight goals to go along with seven assists.

Along with devoting a majority of her time to water polo, the sophomore expressed an interest in pursuing pre-med studies. Although undeclared at the moment, Colton plans to major in Brain Behavior and Cognitive Science.

She’s also has taken up an interest in handing out nicknames to other teammates. As for her own nickname, though, she’s just surprised at its longevity.

“I really didn’t think it would stick,” Colton said. “But amazingly, it has. I love it.”

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