April 22, 2014
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The No. 20-ranked University of Michigan water polo team (19-12) will kick off the postseason this weekend, traveling to Lewisburg, Pa., for the annual CWPA Championship. As the No. 4 seed, the Wolverines will open play against No. 5-seeded Brown (18-20) at noon on Friday (April 25) at Bucknell's Kinney Natatorium. Depending on the outcome, U-M will play at either 1:30 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. against either Indiana or Connecticut College on Saturday (April 26). The championship game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday (April 27).
The CWPA Championship winner earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship, scheduled for May 9-11 at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Due to a new format for the NCAA Championship, it is possible that the CWPA champion will have to compete in a play-in game prior to the NCAA Championship.
The Wolverines are seeking their sixth conference title in program history. U-M captured Eastern championships in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Michigan is 32-9 at the championship all-time and 26-8 under head coach Matt Anderson. Michigan is 5-4 when advancing to the conference title game.
U-M earned the tournament's No. 4 seed after taking third place in the CWPA Western Division. It is only the third time in program history that the Wolverines did not carry the No. 1 or No. 2 seed into the Eastern Championship. Michigan was also the No. 4 seed last season and advanced to the championship game.
Senior Kelsey Nolan is a two-time CWPA Championship all-tournament team selection, earning second team accolades in 2012 and 2013.
Sophomore Presley Pender saw her seven-game scoring streak halted in U-M's CWPA League Weekend game against Gannon (April 13). She started anew with a goal in the subsequent game vs. Notre Dame College. She has scored in 16 of the last 18 games, including multiple goals in 12, and currently leads the team with 45 goals.
Pender also boasts a team-leading and career-best 36 assists this season and has averaged 2.61 points per game. Pender similarly led Michigan last season with 35 -- the third-best assist tally for a U-M rookie in program history. Michigan's season assist record is 50, set by Alison Mantel in 2010.
Only three players have previously led the Wolverines in both goals and assists in a single season. Kiki Golden did it most recently, recording 71 goals and 37 assists in 2012, while Alison Mantel (56-50) accomplished the feat in 2010 and Shana Welch (83-43) did it in 2007.
Michigan honored its three-person senior class prior to its evening game against Hartwick at the CWPA League Weekend (April 12). Seniors Hathaway Moore, Kelsey Nolan and Audrey Pratt contributed to a 94-43 U-M record over their four-year tenure.
With 42 goals on the season, senior Kelsey Nolan has surpassed her career best in the category. She registered 39 goals as a sophomore in 2012. A two-time All-CWPA Western Division selection, Nolan has ranked among U-M's leading scorers in each of her collegiate seasons. She boasts 129 goals in her collegiate career. Nolan has scored at least one goal in all but seven games this season.
Ten Wolverines have at least matched their career-best tally in goals or assists this season, most notably Pender, senior Audrey Pratt, junior Danielle Robinson, junior Elizabeth Williams and sophomore Kelly Martin, who have surpassed their career bests in both statistical categories.
Three Michigan players have averaged at least a goal per game this season. Sophomore Presley Pender leads the Wolverines with 45 tallies, while senior Kelsey Nolan owns 42 and freshman Allison Skaggs has 31. All three Wolverines have appeared in all 31 games this season.
All seven freshman field players have registered their first collegiate goals this season. Allison Skaggs headlines the group with 26 goals, while Jamie Nolan, Heidi Moreland, Brittany Kirwan, Kaitlyn Cozens, Allison Larko and Kimberly Graziano also own at least one tally. While still missing a goal, goalkeeper Emily Browning boasts 18 assists.
All three Wolverine goalkeepers recorded one complete-game performance over the CWPA League Weekend, combining for a stellar 39 saves and eight assists.
Sophomore goalkeeper Hayden Green posted a career-best 17 saves against NDC -- the most recorded by a U-M goalie since Morgan Turner similarly posted 17 against Maryland in 2009. Green's previous best was nine, which she also tallied vs. NDC earlier this season.
Sophomore goalkeeper Julia Campbell played several minutes in the field in the third quarter against NDC, taking -- and winning -- the period's opening sprint.
Michigan posted an 8-3 record at Canham Natatorium this season.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Brown -- The Bears enter the weekend with an 18-15 record after claiming second place in the CWPA Southern Division Championship in their last outing two weeks ago. Brown earned wins over Mercyhurst (14-5) and Bucknell (12-9) before falling to Princeton, 11-4, in the championship game. Kate Woods leads the Bear squad with 66 goals this season, while Emily McNamara ranked second with 42 goals. Michigan carries a 12-4 advantage in the all-time series against Brown and have won three straight in the series, including an 11-7 decision in last season's first round of the CWPA Championship.
LAST TIME OUT
The Wolverines claimed two of their three contests at the CWPA League Weekend two weeks ago (April 12-13) at Canham Natatorium, cruising past Gannon and Notre Dame by similar 15-5 margins after dropping a 10-6 decision against Hartwick. Senior Audrey Pratt tallied at least one goal in each game, including two apiece against Gannon and NDC. All three Wolverine goalkeepers recorded one complete-game performance, combining for 39 saves. [ Recaps: Day 1 | Day 2 ]
Fri-Sun., May 9-11 -- at NCAA Championship (Los Angeles, Calif.)