Inside Water #1: Wolverines Host Fifth Annual Michigan Kick-Off

Jan. 18, 2010

Saturday, Jan. 23, 1:15 p.m. --
vs. UC San Diego (Canham Natatorium)
Live Blog |
Saturday, Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m. -- vs. Colorado State (Canham Natatorium)
Live Blog |
Sunday, Jan. 24, 9:15 a.m. -- vs. No. 3 UCLA (Canham Natatorium)
Live Blog |
Sunday, Jan. 24, 1 p.m. -- vs. No. 7 San Diego State (Canham Natatorium)
Live Blog |

The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan water polo team (0-0-0, 0-0-0 CWPA West) hits the water for its second decade, hosting the fifth annual Michigan Kick-Off on Jan. 23-24 at Canham Natatorium. The Wolverines will begin their back-to-back CWPA Eastern Championship title defense with UC San Diego at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 23) followed by a nightcap with Colorado State at 7:30 p.m. Day two (Sunday, Jan. 24) features two of the nation's top teams, pitting the Maize and Blue against reigning national champion No. 3 UCLA at 9:15 a.m. and No. 7 San Diego State at 1 p.m. U-M has dispatched the Rams in each of the last five season-opening tournaments and has three wins against UC San Diego, downing the Tritons in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The Bruins have won both of its Kick-Off contests with the Maize and Blue and the Aztecs are making its inaugural trip to the tournament.

• Michigan Kick-Off Schedule (Tournament Central)

Saturday, Jan. 23
8:30 a.m. -- #7 San Diego State vs. UC San Diego
9:45 a.m. -- #3 UCLA vs. #19 Indiana
11:00 a.m. -- Colorado State vs. #6 San Jose State
1:15 p.m. -- #10 Michigan. vs. UC San Diego
5 p.m. -- #19 Indiana vs. #6 San Jose State
6:15 p.m. -- #7 San Diego State vs. #3 UCLA
7:30 p.m. -- #10 Michigan vs. Colorado State

Sunday, Jan. 24
8:00 a.m. -- #7 San Diego State vs. Colorado State
9:15 a.m. -- #10 Michigan vs. #3 UCLA
10:30 a.m. -- UC San Diego vs. #6 San Jose State
11:45 a.m. -- Colorado State vs. #19 Indiana
1:00 p.m. -- #10 Michigan vs. #7 San Diego State
2:30 p.m. -- UC San Diego vs. #3 UCLA

U-M at the Michigan Kick-Off -- Michigan owns a 24-11-1 record when hosting the Michigan Kick-Off/Invitational. The Kick-Off, originally tabbed as the Michigan Invitational and renamed in 2006, has been held at Canham Natatorium since 2002. The Wolverines are 12-11-1 against ranked opponents at the tournament and have knocked off a pair of No. 7-ranked teams. In the 2005 season opener, No. 9-ranked Michigan downed then-No. 7 Long Beach State, 7-4. Four years later, with a No. 10 ranking at their back, the Wolverines knocked off then-No. 7 San Jose State by a 8-6 tally.

We Have a Great Pool in our Backyard -- The friendly confines of Canham Natatorium will play host to the U-M season opener for the ninth straight campaign. U-M hosted the Michigan Invitational for four seasons prior to the 2006 campaign when the Wolverines inaugurated the annual Michigan Kick-Off. Michigan is 5-4 all-time in home openers and 6-3 in season openers. The Wolverines are 66-19-1 all-time at Canham, including a 12-2 record last season.

One Will Do -- Senior Leah Robertson (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor) comes into the 2010 season with 299 steals, needing one more theft to become the first Wolverine to reach the 300 steals plateau. Robertson assumed the program lead on April 26, 2008, when she passed Shana Welch (202, 2004-07). The Wolverine senior owns the freshman, sophomore and junior records for steals in a season and needs 72 to match Welch's final campaign - almost 28 fewer than Robertson has averaged in her career.

Two Will Do -- Michigan needs two victories this weekend to reach 250 wins as a program. The Wolverines enter the new decade with a 248-105-1 record, winning at a .702 clip. Michigan ranks first in victories among all CWPA teams in the modern era -- since the establishment of an NCAA Championship in 2001. Hartwick is one win behind the Maize and Blue followed by Princeton with 196 wins, Indiana with 193 victories and Bucknell with 177 notches in the win column.

A Lot of New Faces -- Michigan will have 13 rookies on the roster for the 2010 season, the third-largest freshman class in program history. U-M had its largest recruiting class in 2006 with 20 new faces climbing aboard the Maize and Blue water polo machine followed by the 2002 group of 16 newcomers. Michigan graduated seven players last season.

Quick Study -- Sophomore Meagan Cobb (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) needs five goals to reach 50 scores in her young career. If she can dent the twine five times in the first two games, she will be the third-fastest Wolverine to reach the plateau. Julie Hyrne (2006-09) hit the magic number in 45 games and junior Alison Mantel (Miami, Fla./Gulliver) reached the half century mark in 46 games. Shana Welch (2004-07) holds the program record, reaching the milestone 34 games into her rookie campaign.

Leaders and Best -- Seniors Casie Kelly (Longwood, Fla./Lake Brantley) and Leah Robertson and junior Cara Reitz (Miami, Fla./Gulliver) will represent the Wolverines as captains for the program's 10th season. All three are first-time captains.

Gracious Hosts -- Michigan and the Canham Natatorium will be the scene of the 2010 Western Division Championships. U-M will go for its ninth straight division crown on April 26. The Wolverines hosted and won the 2004 and 2007 division championships and claimed the 2008 Eastern Championship title at home. U-M also played host to the 2005 NCAA Championship and will again serve as the location of the national tournament for the 2011 season.

• UC San Diego
U-M leads 9-6
   Last Meeting:
10-6, W (4/11/09 - Aztec Mini - San Diego, Calif.)
• Colorado State
U-M leads 7-0
   Last Meeting:
12-0, W (1/24/09 - Michigan Kick-Off - Ann Arbor, Mich.)
U-M trails 0-4
   Last Meeting:
6-13, L (5/8/09 - NCAA Championship - College Park, Md.)
   U-M vs. No. 3: 0-8
• San Diego State
U-M trails 2-11
   Last Meeting:
9-8, W 2OT (4/10/09 - Aztec Mini - San Diego, Calif.)
   U-M vs. No. 7: 4-14

Top Returnees: 2009 Final Stats

Name GP G A P
Alison Mantel 42 56 31 87
Leah Robertson 36 41 31 72
Lauren Orth 44 34 28 62

Name GP Steals
Leah Robertson 36 69
Alison Mantel 42 50

Name GP W-L Blks GAA SV%
Brittany May 35 23-9 227 5.92 .570
Morgan Turner 19 7-0 78 4.79 .655

Point Streaks
Leah Robertson -- 10 games (13 goals, 14 assists)
Lauren Orth -- six games (eight goals, five assists)
Milli Brown -- three games (four goals, two assists)

Goals Streaks
Leah Robertson -- six games (10 goals)
Milli Brown -- three games (four goals)

Brittany May needs four wins for 50 career victories and nine saves to match Kristen Davis (418, 2006-07) for second on the U-M career list.

Leah Robertson needs five assists to match Mary Chatigny (108, 2006-09) on the U-M career list. She also needs one steal to reach 300 career thefts.

Cara Reitz needs six points to reach 100 on her career.

Michigan earned the No. 10 ranking in the 2010 Women's Varsity Preseason Top 20 preseason poll. The Wolverines also earned a share of the top spot in the Collegiate Water Polo Association's Top 10 poll. The Wolverines have been ranked in the top 10 in preseason polling four times. (Complete Poll)

Michigan put together another historic season in 2009. The Wolverines cracked the top seven in the final National Top 20 poll after completing a 35-9 campaign en route to their eighth division crown, fourth Eastern Championship title and second consecutive and fourth all-time trip to the NCAA Championship.

The Wolverines rattled off eight unanswered goals to cruise past Loyola Marymount in the fifth-place game of the NCAA Championship. U-M, seeded sixth, finished in the top five at the national tournament for the first time since the field expanded to eight teams in 2005. Michigan became just the fourth team to repeat as conference champion when it knocked off No. 14-ranked Hartwick, 12-6, in the Eastern Championship finals. The Maize and Blue never trailed en route to its eighth consecutive CWPA division crown, edging No. 17-ranked Indiana by a 9-8 score in the title match of the CWPA Western Division Championship.

Every Wednesday, MGoBlue will offer insider access to the Michigan water polo program in the Five Good Meters audio podcast. Players and coaches will touch on topics ranging from road trips, Michigan's opponents, strategy and the other events of the season in each weekly feature. Check out the latest episode on or subscribe to Michigan Athletics on iTunes.

Michigan water polo enters its second season on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_wpolo) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. Check them both out in our new publications section.

The national spotlight will return to Ann Arbor when the 2011 NCAA Championship comes to Canham Natatorium. The games will run May 13-15, 2011.With a seating capacity of 1,200 people, Canham Natatorium provided the stage for the 2005 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship. The Wolverines placed sixth while playing in their home pool at the 2005 event.

Sat-Sun., Feb. 6-7 -- at Stanford Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Sat-Sun., Feb. 20-21 -- at Princeton Invitational (Princeton, N.J.)

Contact: Ryan Sosin (734) 763-4423

Visit the 'M' Zone for Features, Video and More!