Wolverines Battle to Third-Place CWPA Win over No. 16 Hartwick
Kelsey Nolan

April 27, 2014

Photo Gallery  | Tournament Results

Site: Lewisburg, Pa. (Kinney Natatorium)
Event: CWPA Championship (Third-Place Game)
Score: #20 Michigan 12, #16 Hartwick 10
Records: U-M (21-13), Hartwick (21-14)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The No. 20-ranked University of Michigan water polo team battled through several lead changes to defeat No. 16 Hartwick, 12-10, in the third-place game at the CWPA Championship on Sunday afternoon (April 27) at Bucknell's Kinney Natatorium. With the victory, U-M avenged two earlier-season losses to the Hawks.

For the second time in the weekend tournament, sophomore Ali Thomason (San Rafael, Calif./Marin Catholic HS) matched a career-best four goals and three assists to headline the Wolverines' offensive efforts, netting U-M's tying and go-ahead goals midway through the fourth quarter. Senior Kelsey Nolan (San Jose, Calif./Leland HS) also posted a hat trick, scoring all three goals in the first half, while Michigan's other two seniors, Hathaway Moore (Atherton, Calif./St. Francis HS) and Audrey Pratt (Burlingame, Calif./Burlingame HS), posted one goal apiece in their final collegiate appearances.

Sophomore goalkeeper Julia Campbell (Naperville, Ill./Central HS) earned the bulk of time in the Wolverine cage, posting four saves, including several key stops late, after entering the contest midway through the first quarter.

The Wolverines held a two-goal advantage entering the final quarter, but Hartwick surged with three goals in the opening three minutes, including two from Gemma Dendy Young on a five-meter penalty and power play, to steal a narrow lead. Thomason responded with two goal within a narrow 43-second span midway through the frame, scoring on a 6-on-5 skip shot and a subsequent cross-cage rocket.

Campbell made pivotal saves on each of Hartwick's next two attacks before sophomore Presley Pender (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) iced the Wolverine win with a goal off a counter-attack breakaway with 2:23 remaining. Michigan played possession for much of the final two minutes to seal it.

Thomason had a hand in nearly all five Wolverine goals in the first quarter, netting U-M's first marker of the game on a counter attack, and assisting on three, including back-to-back goals from Nolan in the final minute of the frame. Nolan converted on a backhand from two meters before finding the opposite corner on an outside shot less than a minute later.

After Hartwick evened the score with two quick goals in the second quarter, Nolan responded quickly with her third goal of the contest, finishing on another backhand shot after receiving the ball from Pender at two meters. Pender assisted on the next two Wolverine goals as sophomore Barbara Lanier (Lafayette, Calif./Acalanes HS) and Moore scored to pad U-M's halftime lead to three.

The Hawks again narrowed the gap with a pair of third-quarter goals, including on a five-meter penalty shot, but Thomason answered in the waning seconds, taking advantage of a Hartwick turnover to find the lower left corner on a counter-attack break with just two seconds remaining in the frame. Thomason's goal extended U-M's lead to two and set up the wild back-and-forth final quarter.

Michigan wrapped the 2014 season with a 21-13 record. The Wolverines have finish third place or better at the CWPA Championship in each of the last seven seasons.


By Period 1 2 3 4 F
U-M Goals: Ali Thomason 4, Kelsey Nolan 3, Audrey Pratt, Allison Skaggs, Barbara Lanier, Hathaway Moore, Presley Pender
HU Goals: Katie Ermakova 3, Sam Capparelli 2, Cayley Tonkin 2, Gemma Dendy Young 2, Britt Tait
Saves: U-M 4 (Emily Browning 0, Julia Campbell 4), HU 9 (Michael Davies)
Ejections: U-M 16, HU 6

• Previous Results: Semifinals | First Round


Michigan Head Coach Matt Anderson
On the Wolverines' strong finish ... "Our preference was to obviously be in the championship game. Had it been seeded as we expected it be, I think we could have been. We had an outstanding tournament from the standpoint that two of our seniors played less than half the game because they got majored, so our young guns stepped up. Hartwick beat us at home just a couple weeks ago, and today we controlled it. They couldn't swim with us, and that's rare for Hartwick to not be able to swim with a team. It's always good to end with a win. It's clear that next year, everyone is chasing Michigan. This team is really going to be something special the next two years."

On standout players ... "Ali Thomason was outstanding all tournament. Audrey Pratt saved her best polo for last. Allison Skaggs dominated and got Rookie of the Year. Emily Browning busted up her nose today, so Julia Campbell had to jump in the pool and led us to victory. All three of our seniors played great this weekend, and the best thing was that not once did they mention that it was their final weekend. They just worried about the team. It was a great team effort."

On the Wolverines' tenacity ... "It's a great finish to beat another top-20 team to end the year -- in a tough environment. This is pressure time for everybody. This is the first for a majority of these girls to be in that position. We won two out of three this weekend and ended in a commanding fashion. If we had another two weeks in the season, we'd be that much better."

Contact: Leah Howard (lchoward@umich.edu)