During a road swing through already snowy western Pennsylvania, the Michigan water polo team created an offensive blizzard this weekend.
The 12th-ranked Wolverines (17-9) compiled 96 goals as the team earned five easy victories in CWPA League play. In its win over Grove City Saturday, Michigan tallied 24 goals, a new program record.
But Michigan coach Matt Anderson credited his team’s defense for much of its offensive success.
“Offensively, our team has been working great together,” Anderson said. “But I think it is our team’s renewed enthusiasm on defense that has contributed to our team’s 11-game winning streak.”
Michigan had no trouble keeping the streak going. The Wolverines defeated Mercyhurst, Gannon, and Penn State-Behrend each by at least nine goals.
The Wolverines’ youth and energy propelled them this weekend.
Freshman Lauren Orth stole the spotlight Saturday as she tallied 10 points in two games with a hat trick in the 21-5 victory over Slippery Rock.
In the following game, two freshmen had career-high games. Sarah Roberts recorded four goals while Alison Mantel notched three in the 21-point defeat of Grove City.
“It was nice to see so many different players score,” Anderson said through the Athletic Department. “A good amount of players had the opportunity to play some offense, and they took advantage of it.”
This weekend marked a milestone for junior captain Julie Hyrne. Hyrne scored the 150th goal of her career. She became just the second Wolverine in program history after Shana Welch (2004-07) to reach that landmark.
“I did not even know I had accomplished that,” Hyrne said. “I really looked up to Shana when she was here. It is a good feeling knowing that hard work pays off.”
With Hyrne’s leadership and the emergence of younger athletes, Michigan seems to be peaking at just the right time. Anderson will look to his upperclassmen leadership as rival Indiana comes to Ann Arbor next weekend.
“We are just at the edge of the top 10 in the country,” Anderson said. “This team really believes they can beat anyone on any given night.”