April 2, 2013
BROWN BEAR INVITATIONAL
Saturday, April 6 -- vs. No. 20 Hartwick (Providence, R.I.), 11 a.m.
Saturday, April 6 -- vs. CSU Bakersfield (Providence, R.I.), 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 7 -- vs. No. 3 Arizona State (Providence, R.I.), 9:15 a.m.
Sunday, April 7 -- at Brown (Providence, R.I.), 2 p.m.
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The 15th-ranked University of Michigan water polo team (14-10, 3-0 CWPA West) will conclude regular-season play this weekend, heading to Providence, R.I., for the Brown Bear Invitational. On Saturday (April 6), U-M will face No. 20 Hartwick (22-9, 3-0 CWPA West) at 11 a.m. and CSU Bakersfield (10-18) at 3 p.m. before wrapping up play against No. 3 Arizona State (19-5) at 9:15 a.m. and host Brown (12-13) at 2 p.m. on Sunday (April 7). All games will be held at the Brown Bears' Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center.
The Wolverines have significant histories with all four of their Black Bear Invitational opponents. U-M leads in the all-time series against Hartwick (15-4), CSU Bakersfield (4-0) and host Brown (10-4) but trails, 7-3, to Arizona State. Michigan is looking for its first win in eight meetings against the Sun Devils.
Michigan will face Hartwick on Saturday in its final CWPA Western Division game of the regular season. The Wolverines own a perfect 3-0 division record this season. Michigan has won 11 consecutive CWPA division crowns overall and three of the last five CWPA Eastern Championship titles. Overall, U-M has posted a dominant 78-5 division record over the program's history.
The Wolverines' 10-game winning streak is the program's longest since claiming 22 in a row late in the 2011 season.
Michigan's overtime win at Indiana was its first since defeating Hartwick, 10-9, on May 11, 2012. The Wolverines have played two overtime games this season; it narrowly lost, 11-10, in double overtime against San Diego State at the Michigan Kick-Off. It is the first time since 2009 that U-M had multiple overtime games in a season.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Adamson registered a career-best 17 saves at Indiana. Her previous best was 11. Her effort against the Hoosiers tied for U-M's sixth-best single-game save effort in program history. Betsey Armstrong holds the U-M school record with 24.
Adamson, who assisted on the Wolverines' game-winning overtime goal at Indiana, boasts 21 assists on the season and 99 in her collegiate career. She currently ranks 10th among U-M's all-time leaders in the category -- the only goalkeeper among the list -- and needs just one more to move to the ninth spot, currently held by Carrie Frost (100, 2006-09).
Senior Kiki Golden also ranks among U-M's assist leaders with 120 over her four-year tenure, using a three-assist effort at Indiana to crack the top five. She needs one more to reach the fourth spot, currently held by Leah Robertson (121, 2007-10). Golden also ranks among U-M's top-five leaders in goals (190, 4th), points (307, 4th) and steals (265, 2nd).
Junior Kelsey Nolan boasted a hat trick in U-M's overtime win against Indiana, scoring two goals in the fourth quarter, including the game-tying marker with 1:40 remaining in regulation. It was Nolan's second hat trick of the season and eighth of her career. Eleven different Wolverine players have registered hat tricks this season, combining for 28 total three-goal efforts.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Q: What was the feeling amongst the team after last Saturday's win at Indiana?
A: We just felt so good about ourselves. It gave us such a confidence boost. We had a pretty rough start to our season, but to be working through everything and to have an overtime win like that against our No. 1 rival, it was a pure rush. It was a fun game to play in. It was competitive; Indiana played well, and we played well. Overall, it was such a great game, so to come out on top was icing on the cake.
Q: Do you think that was the best game that Michigan has put together this season?
A: Yeah, I think so. Indiana has a very different offense from a lot of other teams, and we took a lot of time to go over what we needed to do defensively. I felt like we really clicked on defense, and I think we really listened to and applied everything that Matt [Anderson] and Betsey [Armstrong] said. Offensively, we got great opportunities. Some we didn't finish, but we knew those opportunities were there and kept pushing and pushing. We think we really clicked, we worked hard together, and we're starting to become more of a team and play more like a team.
Q: Are starting to see some of the benefits from playing such a tough early-season schedule now? Has that prepared you for the end of the season?
A: Our goal is to get to NCAAs. Those are the kinds of teams that we will be playing in that tournament. Playing teams like Stanford and UCLA, we see a lot of great talent and how those teams work together. I think that's what Matt likes about playing those games. It gives us examples of what we should be looking to do in the water. We take from each game and use it in our own offense and defense.
Q: Scoring seems to be pretty spread out this season. Is it reassuring that so many different players can step up and contribute game to game?
A: Kiki [Golden] is obviously one of the greatest players in the history of Michigan water polo, so teams are looking specifically to shut her down since she's such a threat. So, I think having people -- freshmen especially -- step up and score big goals is huge. It's only going to keep us going further.
Q: Do you think the team is hitting its stride right now -- when it matters most?
A: Definitely. This is the most important time of the year. It really sets us up for championship tournament play. So, having this confidence boost and feeling like we're finally clicking together on defense and offense is really helping us push through the last part of the season, which is always the hardest.
LAST TIME OUT
The Wolverines used a second-half rally and overtime to edge 12th-ranked rival Indiana, 8-7, last Saturday (March 30) at the Hoosiers' Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. Junior Audrey Pratt netted the game-winner on a cross-cage shot late in the first overtime frame, while junior Kelsey Nolan boasted a hat trick, earning two goals in the fourth quarter, including the game-tying marker with 1:40 remaining in regulation. Senior goalkeeper Alex Adamson posted a career-best 17 saves, including three in overtime to keep IU off the board for the final six minutes of the contest, and she assisted on the game-winning goal. [ Full Recap ]
Sat-Sun., April 13-14 -- at CWPA Western Division Championship (Geneva, Ohio)