On Saturday morning, the No. 6 Michigan water polo team (14-7 overall) hosted No. 15 Indiana (10-11) at Canham Natatorium for its second matchup of the season.
“I have been at Michigan for five years and we have never lost to Indiana,” fifth-year attacker Maddie O’Reilly said.
The Wolverines had already beat the Hoosiers this year, 8-6, at the Barbara Kalbus invitation and the Hoosiers were out for revenge.
The match got off to an exciting start with Michigan winning the tipoff and a personal foul from Indiana driver Kallie White. Following the foul, O’Reilly made a penalty shot to draw first blood. Through the first quarter, the Wolverines and the Hoosiers stayed neck and neck, ending the quarter 3-2 in favor of Michigan thanks to goals from senior attacker Ava Morrant and sophomore center Elise Walker.
The Wolverines started off the second quarter with a goal from senior attacker Kayla Barone. Michigan and Indiana alternated goals through the second and third quarter with Michigan slowly building a solid lead. Barone threw a buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter to widen the Wolverines’ lead to 10-7.
In the fourth quarter, Indiana scored three goals in a row to tie the game at 10. The rest of the game was a rush to try and score the final goal. Senior utility player Maddy Steere scored one final goal to give Michigan an 11-10 lead, the eventual final score.
The last four minutes of the match were a defensive showcase with both teams fighting down to the wire and Indiana’s Tina Doherty receiving a foul. No goals were scored at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines were led to victory by two upperclassmen, Barone and O’Reilly. O’Reilly scored three goals and had two assists including a penalty shot in the first minute of play. Barone matched her career high of four goals and she made one assist. Other notable contributors include Steere with two goals, Walker with one goal and Morrant with one goal.
The Wolverines and Indiana are the only two major teams from the Midwest in the CWPA.
“Whether you see it as a rivalry or not, they’re a good opponent,” O’Reilly said. “They’re gonna come in and challenge you.”
The Wolverines displayed a high level of intensity against an aggressive Indiana team. Michigan will need to continue this level of intensity to remain successful in the coming matchups.
“We know a lot of teams who have been out for the past two years are out for blood and we’re preparing ourselves everyday to make sure that they can’t capitalize on anything,” O’Reilly said.
The Wolverines have three more weeks of regular season conference play, and they have five weeks until the CWPA conference championship. They will look to continue their win streak from the Indiana matchup and the Wolverine Invitational two weekends ago. As Michigan prepares for high-stakes matchups, the Wolverines will rely on the leadership of Barone and O’Reilly