Wolverines Rally to Overtime Win over Brown in CWPA Opener
Ali Thomason

April 25, 2014

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Site: Lewisburg, Pa. (Kinney Natatorium)
Event: CWPA Championship (First Round)
Score: #20 Michigan 11, Brown 9 (OT)
Records: U-M (20-12), Brown (18-16)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, April 26 -- vs. Indiana - CWPA Championship (Lewisburg, Pa.), 4:30 p.m.

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Sophomore Ali Thomason (San Rafael, Calif./Marin Catholic HS) netted four goals, including two in overtime, as the No. 20-ranked University of Michigan water polo team rallied to 11-9 decision against Brown in its opening game of the CWPA Championship on Friday afternoon (April 25) at Bucknell's Kinney Natatorium.

The Wolverines will next face No. 1 seed Indiana in the CWPA Eastern Championship semifinals tomorrow (Saturday, April 26) at 4:30 p.m. at Canham Natatorium. Michigan has reached the conference semifinal round each of the last 12 years.

Thomason's four-goal effort is her career best and marks her fifth hat trick of the season. She scored Michigan's last three goals of the contest, tying the game late in the fourth quarter before adding the only two goals of the overtime frames. Freshman Allison Skaggs (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro HS) also posted her fifth hat trick and added a pair of assists.

Freshman Emily Browning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro HS) recorded seven saves in the Wolverine cage, including game-changing stops on Brown 6-on-5 opportunities late in the fourth and in overtime.

Thomason took advantage of a Wolverine power play to even the score, 9-9, with 2:54 remaining in the fourth, accepting a pass from sophomore Presley Pender (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) and burying it from two meters on the left post. An offensive foul gave Brown possession with 45 seconds left, and the Brown Bears drew an exclusion and new shot clock with 25 seconds to go. Browning stopped the attempt in the waning seconds, moving to the left post to get in front of the outside shot and force overtime.

Thomason netted a skip shot midway through the first overtime frame to give U-M a narrow one-goal lead. She lost her first sprint of the contest in the second -- after winning five in a row -- resulting in Brown retaining 13 seconds of power play from the previous period. The Bears fired a rocket as time expired, but Browning again got to the left post to get in front of it. The Wolverine goalie fed the ball up on the counter attack, and Thomason took it in from mid pool, scoring from the right side to ice the victory.

The Wolverines struck first in the contest and led midway through the opening frame after a pair of early goals from Skaggs. After Brown surged ahead with three straight goals, Michigan did not lead again until early in the fourth when Skaggs completed her hat trick with a layout shot from two meters.

Michigan chipped away at the deficit, scoring two apiece in the second and third quarters. Thomason and senior Audrey Pratt (Burlingame, Calif./Burlingame HS) both converted on 6-on-5 opportunities in the former frame. In all, the Wolverines earned the bulk of their goals on power-play chances, going 6-for-13 while holding Brown to five power-play goals in 10 opportunities.


By Period 1 2 3 4 OT OT F
U-M Goals: Ali Thomason 4, Allison Skaggs 3, Kelly Martin 2, Presley Pender, Kelsey Nolan, Barbara Lanier, Audrey Pratt
BU Goals: Shannon Crowley 3, Liz Rosen 3, Brittany Westerman, Kate Woods, Sarah Presant
Saves: 7 (Emily Brownng), BU 5 (Sarah Shinn)
Ejections: U-M 13, BU 11


Michigan Head Coach Matt Anderson
On the Wolverines' gritty effort ... "We expected the game to go like this -- that Brown would throw different things at us and play it close. We knew that we'd have to continue to do what we do well in order to win the game. At this point, getting the win is all that matters. The score doesn't really matter; it only matters who wins and who loses.

On standout individual performances ... "Ali [Thomason] was incredible for us today. She continues to push the effort and enthusiasm the whole way. Her counter-attack speed just wore Brown out. [Allison] Skaggs had an outstanding game from scoring goals to drawing kickouts. Emily Browning had a couple huge saves -- on a power play at the end of regulation and again in overtime. To see how well our young guns are stepping up, especially in the postseason, makes us happy."

On the power-play conversion ... "There were some that didn't play as well as they normally do; other people stepped up and played better than normal. At this point, it only matters how the team performs. They were able to follow some good concepts that we put in for our power play. We had our best power-play outing of the year at 50 percent -- six for 12. That's pretty good when you get into the postseason."

Contact: Leah Howard (lchoward@umich.edu)