The Michigan water polo team did something on Saturday that it
had not done in 12 prior games: it lost.

The No. 8 Wolverines fell 8-6 to No. 7 Loyola-Marymount at the
Fluid Four Invitational in Bloomington. The game was tight
throughout the first half, and the teams entered halftime in a 2-2
deadlock. Loyola- Marymount (19-4) was then able to open up the
game in the third period, scoring three straight goals to take a
5-3 advantage heading into the final frame. Michigan came back to
score three of the next four goals, tying the score at 6-6 with
less than three minutes to play.

“Loyola-Marymount is a game that is going down to the
buzzer no matter what,” Michigan coach Matt Anderson
said.

With the score tied up in the closing minutes, Loyola-Marymount
overpowered the Wolverines to score the final two goals of the game
and secure the victory.

“We could have played better, without a doubt,”
Anderson said. “For how we played, to go into the last couple
minutes of the game with the opportunity to beat the No. 7 team in
the nation, I was happy with that.”

Michigan (25-8) rebounded in the second game of the invitational
to defeat No. 20 Cal. State-Northridge 9-5. The Wolverines were
aided by a hot start against Cal. State-Northridge (14-11), as they
leapt out to a 3-1 lead after the first period. From there, the
team never looked back, with freshman standout Shana Welch and
sophomore Megan Hausmann both picking up hat tricks.

“(In the second game, we) just refocused on a few things
defensively,” Anderson said. “It’s tough to play
a game like that after you lose a very tough game. I was worried
about a letdown, and jumping out to the type of lead we did shows
the kind of team we are capable of being.”

Despite the positives from the solid win against Cal.
State-Northridge, the loss to Loyola-Marymount had significant NCAA
Tournament implications for the Wolverines. The teams split their
season series at one game apiece, so now it is up to the NCAA
seeding committee to determine who will get the higher seed.

“On paper, we are even in comparison of power points and
everything,” Anderson said. “It’s going to come
down to the decision of, ‘Well, (Loyola-Marymount) beat them
last so they should get the better seed.’ ”

Even though he hates to take a loss, Anderson was somewhat
relieved because the defeat meant that Michigan would not have to
try to beat Loyola-Marymount a third time should they meet in the
NCAA Tournament.

Beating an opponent three times in one season is a difficult
task for any team to pull off.

“To beat a top-10 team, you have to play well,”
Anderson said. “To beat them two times in a row, you have to
play extremely well. To play them a third time, and beat them three
times in a row, that’s pretty darn close to (playing)
perfect.”

Before they can start worrying about facing Loyola-Marymount for
a third time, however, the Wolverines must first take on the U.S.
Women’s Olympic team tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Canham
Natatorium.

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