Top Five: The Michigan-Indiana Rivalry
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MGOBLUE

MGOBLUE

April 2, 2010

There has never been an easy win in the Michigan and Indiana rivalry. Though the Wolverines hold a decided 26-6-1 advantage, they've had to fight to the finish for every victory. The 33-game series has included twelve divisional or conference championship showdowns and has produced 15 one-goal games. Only seven times in series history has one side earned victory with a winning margin of more than two goals.

The rivalry has included some of the biggest names in the storied histories of each program. From Betsey Armstrong's school record 24-save performance in 2004 to Julie Nisbet's quadruple overtime game-winner in 2003 to Alison Mantel's three-goal, three-assist performance in the latest chapter of the rivalry to the 30-ejection brawl in the third-place game of the 2007 CWPA Eastern Championship. The battle between these Big Ten foes is never short on excitement.

With the match-up about to make its national television debut on Saturday (April 3) on the Big Ten Network, MGoBlue.com will take a look back at five of the games that best define this rivalry. Check back each day as we reveal another game and then come to Canham Natatorium on Saturday (April 3) at 1 p.m. as the 2010 squads write the latest chapter in the epic battle between Michigan and Indiana.

AT STAKE
Michigan came flying into the 2008 CWPA Western Division Championship title game with a program record 23-game winning streak in tow. After an early exit from the 2007 CWPA Eastern Championship, the Wolverines had been a team on a mission and the team that handed them that early exit was square in the cross-hairs. Julie Hyrne, Sharayah Hernandez and Lauren Orth could not miss the back of the cage while goalkeepers Brittany May and Kimberly Gero were hours removed from the program's second shutout in as many weeks. It was a perfect storm for the Maize and Blue as it sought to shake off the 2007 season and claim its seventh division championship.

THE GAME
It only took 10:16 for the No. 11-ranked University of Michigan water polo team to build the lead necessary to clinch its seventh-straight division title Saturday night (April 19). The Wolverines knocked off No. 18-ranked Indiana 11-3 in the final round of the CWPA Western Division Championship at the Grove City College Pool. Junior Sharayah Hernandez (Pico Rivera, Calif./El Rancho) scored twice, both in the first two minutes of the contest. Junior goalkeeper Brittany May (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) sparkled to a six stop performance in the cage, holding the Hoosiers scoreless in the first half while the Wolverines built an insurmountable lead.

Complete Recap

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U-M Junior Sharayah Hernandez
"We played as a unit and it was awesome. People went in and out and we didn't skip a beat. I would go in and I didn't even know who I was with because everything was the same -- the chemistry was there. We just came out and didnt stop pushing."

ANDERSON'S TAKE
"That was a turning point. We lost to (Indiana) at Princeton at Easterns the season previous. I think that neither one of us, Indiana or Michigan, was happy being in the third place game, and we sure played like it -- like we didn't care. So, we had a serious attitude readjustment with the philosophy of the team, that if we only win game of the year, it needs to be against our arch-rival -- that's what the early teams had instilled in themselves and that is what I wanted to instill in the incoming group. We want to go to NCAAs, but the bottom line is, during the regular season there is one game we need to win, and so we just exploded on them in Grove City. Sharayah (Hernandez) was outstanding early on, as was Lauren Orth and Keller Felt and Cara Reitz and Alison Mantel, Sarah Roberts, Ryley Plunkett -- it was their first year and it was just amazing how well we played. Probably as good of a first half of water polo we have ever played in any Michigan game. Walking out, at that point, I realized that this team could make it to NCAAs. We hit a new level that I was hoping we could reach. I mean the largest margin of victory against your fiercest rival, and you know, it played true. We went and 'upset' Hartwick the following week to get a bid to the NCAAs."

AT STAKE
A week after upsetting Indiana in the CWPA Western Division Championship, the Wolverines once again had to face the Hoosiers as the underdog, and this time in hostile territory for the CWPA Eastern Championship. The conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship had added value as the national champion would be crowned at U-M's Canham Natatorium. The Wolverines steamrolled Bucknell, 7-1, and No. 16-ranked Princeton, 8-3, to get to the finals and looked to be hitting their stride as the sought the program's second conference crown.

THE GAME
The No. 11 University of Michigan women's water polo team won its second Eastern Championship title of the past four season with an 8-7 victory over No. 10 Indiana on Sunday (May 1) at Indiana's Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron HS) led Michigan with 11 saves in the game and Meg Knudtsen (Los Altos, Calif./St. Francis HS) and Megan Hausmann (San Diego, Calif./Bishop's HS) each scored two goals in the victory, including the game-winner for Hausmann with 1:48 to play in the match.

Complete Recap

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
Michigan Head Coach Matt Anderson
"If you had looked at our team after the Bucknell or Princeton game, none of the girls were smiling because their whole focus was on winning the tournament. This team has really come together. I don't think we have the most talent on the team, but we have the most team talent. This team is into being a team. I have never had a group that has bonded like this group."

ANDERSON'S TAKE
"You knew it was going to be a knock-down, drag out, game. Indiana, obviously, was not happy losing in overtime the week before, it was still in the back of our minds that, 'ok, we have lost two out of three to this team now, and we have to go into their den and try and take on the lion at their place.' I'll tell you what, Meg Knutson, who all year had been giving it her all defensively and everything, answered the bell. I told her 'Meg, Barry knows us very well. You are going to have to become an offensive player this game.' Meg just offensively saved the best game of her career for her last game. And Betsy (Armstrong) came up huge, per usual, on some stops. She made a huge one with about 10 seconds left and we were fortunate enough to have a nice, happy, bus ride home."

AT STAKE
Michigan had lost to Indiana twice during the regular season and had to settle for a No. 2-seed at the CWPA Western Division Championship. The No. 11-ranked Wolverines were the underdog to the top-seeded Hoosiers and their No. 8 ranking. Michigan was seeking its fourth straight CWPA Divisional championship and was facing strong pressure to reach that goal.

THE GAME
Senior Jo Antonsen (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura HS) scored her fourth goal of the game with two minutes left in the first overtime period to give the No. 11 University of Michigan women's water polo team an 11-10 overtime victory over No. 8 Indiana Saturday (April 23) in the finals of the CWPA Western Division Championships. It is Michigan's fourth straight CWPA Divisional championship.

Complete Recap

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
Michigan Head Coach Matt Anderson
"It was very important for the seniors because they really wanted to further establish the Michigan tradition in water polo. This week we saw in the paper that our losses to Indiana were the fifth biggest disappointment in athletics this year. That hit home for the team that the entire University was behind us and it was very important to them to keep that Michigan tradition in mind and build on it. One of the players said in a meeting that, 'Those who stay will be champions,' and that's what we wanted, to be champions."

ANDERSON'S TAKE
"That was a big one in the sense that the previous couple years we had had good teams, and were close. I had a senior class at that point that, as freshmen, had gone to the NCAAs. So, they got a little complacent, other teams got a little bit better, and by their senior year they realized, this is our last chance. Then we lose our first two games ever to Indiana in the rivalry after 13 or 14 victories, and they were both at home. So then we had to go to a neutral site and play a team that had defeated us twice even though in the league were both top teams at the time, it was huge in the sense that we got a tremendous lead on them, and I remember going I to over time. You know, one of the players looked at me and said 'we can't do this. We had a lead, they came back on us. What are supposed to do?' I said, 'you know what I want you to do? The first time you get the ball, just throw it at the cage. I don't care where you are.' She didn't seem to follow me, so I told her again, 'Throw it at the cage, if you don't, you're coming out.' She got the ball at nine meters, threw it at the cage, and it went in. She looked at me, and it was more of the case of 'look, just think about playing, don't come over here thinking about not playing.' So that was a huge victory in terms of the team's mindset as we went on."

AT STAKE
With less than four months on his new post at Michigan under his belt, new U-M head coach Matt Anderson had to face Michigan's fiercest rival -- the Hoosiers. The former Indiana assistant coach was no stranger to the match-up, as the two schools met five times during the previous season. The Wolverines downed Indiana by six goals, setting the tone for their new head coach's program. The margin of victory would stand as the largest in the rivalry for the next five seasons.

THE GAME
The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan water polo team kicked off its third varsity season with an 8-3 loss to No. 7-ranked San Jose State but regrouped and downed No. 14-ranked Indiana, 12-6, later in the afternoon Saturday (Jan. 25) on the first day of the Michigan Invitational at Canham Natatorium. Michigan turned its fortunes around in the second game of the day against Indiana by jumping out to a commanding 5-0 advantage after the first quarter.

Complete Recap

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
Michigan Head Coach Matt Anderson
"The score out there was an aberration. That's not going to be the score it will be when we play next time. This is the first time that I've been associated with this rivalry that it hasn't been tied in the fourth quarter. It's just one of those things. When two good teams are playing, if one team is really hot it doesn't mean the other team isn't good. It just means that for that particular day the one team has the upper hand. Indiana is extremely talented. Whether it's Hartwick or us, it's Indiana that is standing in the way between us and the Final Four."

ANDERSON'S TAKE
"It was weird knowing that you were coaching against a team that you knew so well and were coaching a team you had been around for only about 12 weeks. After taking on a tough San Jose State squad, I wanted to see if the team would be able to mentally rebound against their number one rival. Our girls were excited that I had `swtiched colors' and were ready to go. I think that the Indiana players may have been a little unsettled with the fact that their former assistant was now sitting on the other bench leading their rival into battle. As the score of the next game will attest, IU got over that feeling pretty quick! But it was important from a confidence standpoint in the Michigan players that we won that game, and it allowed me to not have to face questions as to why we didn't win."

AT STAKE
The No. 13-ranked Wolverines were seeking to make their first appearance in the CWPA Eastern Championship title game and No. 17-ranked Indiana was all that stood in their way. The Wolverines were hot off of the program's first CWPA Southern Division crown and riding an 11-game winning streak. In goal, All-American freshman Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) had twice posted 15-plus save performances against Indiana during the season and was poised to deliver the Wolverines a crack at the CWPA's bid to the NCAA Championship.

THE GAME
Sophomore Julie Nisbet (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) scored the game-winning goal from seven meters out with 42 seconds left in the third sudden-death period, propelling the University of Michigan water polo team to an 8-7 quadruple-overtime victory over rival Indiana on Saturday (April 27) in the Eastern Championship semifinals in Princeton, N.J. The 42:18 marathon is the longest game in school history and gives the No. 13 Wolverines (24-11, 24-1 CWPA) their first appearance in the Eastern Championship title game.

Complete Recap

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
Michigan Head Coach Amber Drury-Pinto
"Going into the sudden-death overtime, I felt that our team showed a lot of character. There were so many times where we could have folded; we hit the posts a few times and the ball just didn't make it over the goal line. It was tough. They showed a lot of pride out there. We gave Indiana a six-on-five opportunity in the overtime but we shut it down. I'm very proud of them. They kept at it and we got the win."

ANDERSON'S TAKE
"That game was amazing! I still have not watched it; it is just too painful to. It was, at that point, the longest game in Women's NCAA history and to be on the short end was not a good feeling. But, there was really nothing to get upset or mad about because it was like flipping a coin at that point; It truly came down to who was going to get the lucky bounce. Michigan's 2-meter player -- the last player you would expect to take the shot -- took a 7-meter foul shot (the only one of the game by either team) and it went in. It was a classic case of just wanting the game to end, so you decide to throw the ball at the cage when no one is expecting it. We (Indiana) had a couple breakaways that Betsey Armstrong blocked, where had one had gone in, it could have altered the future course of both programs. Michigan beat Hartwick the next day to go to its first NCAA's, but it lady luck had pre-determined the winner of that classic semi-final was going to win the title. For Michigan to beat Indiana for the fifth time that year was a remarkable feat and the emotional level of that game will always be at the top of my energy chart!"

   

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