It was just two minutes into the first quarter of the Michigan water polo team’s game against Santa Barbara a week and a half ago, and star freshman Megan Hausmann was setting up a shot against the Gauchos. She was ready to make her 12th goal as a Wolverine, to tie her with teammate Casey Kerney for most goals of the season- but the opportunity was snatched away from her by a twist – literally – of fate.
“I don’t know exactly what happened – it’s kind of a blur,” said Hausmann, who plays two-meter offensive center for the team. “I was going to set (up the shot), and my finger got caught in another girl’s suit. She twisted away after I shot the ball, and I guess she took my finger with her.”
No one in or out of the pool knew what had happened. Hausmann remembers Michigan coach Matt Anderson yelling for her to get back and keep swimming, but all she could do was scream, “My finger is broken!”
Anderson lamented that if Hausmann was going to break her finger, she could have at least scored the goal. Hausmann not only didn’t score a goal for her team, she will lose out on much of an entire water polo season.
“Chances are, she’s gone for the season,” Anderson said. “We are hoping to (redshirt) her as of right now. The NCAA is a stickler for certain rules, and Megan is on the cusp of being able to redshirt.”
Anderson will try to obtain a medical redshirt for his talented newcomer, but Hausmann thinks it is unlikely the NCAA will grant her one.
“Technically, I’ve played in 28 percent of the games (this season), and you can only play in 20 percent (to redshirt),” Hausmann said.
The only settling thought for Hausmann is that her finger could heal in time for the end of the season.
“I’ll be out of my splint by the end of March,” Hausmann said. “Hopefully I’ll be back for the (NCAA) Championships.”
Hausmann’s loss poses a huge challenge for the rest of the team, has left for its West Coast Spring Break trip.
“We were learning how to play with her, and now we’ll have to learn how to play without her,” Anderson said. “Because (Hausmann’s loss) came early, we are fortunate, but she really took a lot of pressure at both ends of the pool. We are going to have to restructure our offense and defense.”
Not all is lost, though. Anderson still has many strong and capable players that will learn to take over Hausmann’s spot. Sophomore Casey Kerney has made 12 of the team’s 48 goals this season, and junior Julie Nisbett is Michigan’s career leader in goals scored.
“I expect us to come back with a winning record,” Anderson said.