Michigan Stumbles in First Match in California
Kelsey Nolan

Jan. 31, 2014

Site: Santa Clara, Calif. (Sullivan Aquatic Center)
Score: Santa Clara 11, #16 Michigan 10
Records: U-M (1-2), Santa Clara (1-1)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 1 -- vs. UCLA - Stanford Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.), 8:45 a.m. PST

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan water polo team dropped a back-and-forth nailbiter at Santa Clara, 11-10, to kick off its California trip on Friday afternoon (Jan. 31) at the Broncos' Sullivan Aquatic Center.

Sophomore Ali Thomason (San Rafael, Calif./Marin Catholic HS) headlined the Wolverines' offensive effort with her second career hat trick, while sophomore Presley Pender (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) and senior Kelsey Nolan (San Jose, Calif./Leland HS) posted two goals apiece. Pender added a career-best four assists.

Freshman goalkeeper Emily Browning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro HS) posted five saves in the Wolverine net, including a five-meter penalty shot in the fourth quarter.

The Wolverines jumped out to an early advantage, scoring goals from Pender and Nolan on their first three possessions in the opening 90 seconds, before Thomason netted two of her three goals midway through the frame. Santa Clara surged in the late part of the first quarter, however, scoring on back-to-back possessions to even the score before taking advantage of a 6-on-5 to claim its first lead of the contest in the waning seconds.

Sophomore Kelly Martin (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park HS) scored on a rocket, and Thomason completed her hat trick with a nearside skip shot to retake the lead for Michigan early in the second quarter, but the Broncos responded again, ultimately gaining a narrow 8-7 advantage at the halftime break.

Michigan evened the score again on a low skip shot from freshman Allison Skaggs (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro HS), but Santa Clara responded in kind just seconds later to maintain its one-goal lead. The two teams traded goals early in the fourth quarter, and down two goals late in the game, Nolan used a reverse shot to pull U-M within one in the final minute; but the Wolverines could not finish on their final opportunity.

The Wolverines will participate in the Stanford Invitational Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 1-2) in Palo Alto, Calif., squaring off against UCLA, California and San Jose State. U-M opens the tournament at 8:45 a.m. Saturday against the No. 3 Bruins.


By Period 1 2 3 4 F
Michigan (1-2)
Santa Clara (1-1)

U-M Goals: Ali Thomason 3, Presley Pender 2, Kelsey Nolan 2, Kelly Martin, Allison Skaggs, Audrey Pratt
Santa Clara Goals: Kaitlyn Murphy 2, Laura Burtness 2, Erin Sheridan 2, Elle Surber 2, Julia Peters, Jenny Anderson, Elizabeth Anderson, Claire Eadington
U-M Saves: 5 (Emily Browning)
Santa Clara Saves: 5 (June Afshar)

Contact: Leah Howard (763) 763-4423