The Michigan women’s water polo team opened its season this weekend with a 2-2 showing at the Collegiate Cup at the William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine, Calif.
The Wolverines triumphed against Hawaii and Arizona State, but fell to UC Irvine and Southern California.
“Overall, I’m very pleased,” said Michigan coach Marcelo Leonardi. “I thought that we progressed very well throughout the tournament. The level of the competition was very high, and we were able to get two quality wins with teams that were ranked in the top eight last year.”
The first day of the tournament included a win and a loss for Michigan. Game one against USC ended in favor of the Trojans, 11-4. Despite the score, the Wolverines outshot USC, 23-19. In the second game, Michigan successfully came back from behind to beat Hawaii, 9-7.
Sunday provided a fresh start for the Wolverines, but they started the day with a tough loss against UC Irvine. Sophomore attacker Caroline Anderson scored the day’s first goal at the 6:23 mark for Michigan. By the end of the first period, the Wolverines were up, 3-2, with additional goals from freshman attacker Kim Johnson and senior attacker Ali Thomason.
Going into the second half, the game was tied, 4-4. It was an even matchup, as both sides played strong defense and were tactical in forcing tough shots, but the Anteaters took the win in the end, 5-4.
Diving into the second game of the day against Arizona State, the Wolverines fared better.
Anderson tied the score at one in the final moments of the first quarter. Later in the game, it was Thomason who fought through the Sun Devils’ defense and scored twice, giving Michigan a 4-2 lead — its first of the game. Senior goalkeeper Julia Campbell blocked five shots and let no more goals in the net as Michigan went into the second half.
Going into the final quarter, the Wolverines forced 10 Sun Devil turnovers and led, 5-3. In the final minutes of the game, it was sophomore attacker Laura Jimenez, working with Anderson, who secured Michigan’s 6-4 victory.
“We want to maintain,” Thomason said. “Maintain and stay healthy. If we do that once we get into full-time practice we will continuously get better, and that will be an advantage going into tougher parts of the season.”