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IRVINE, Calif. The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan women’s water polo team split a pair of Barbara Kalbus Invitational contests by falling to No. 5-ranked the University of Hawaii, 10-8, before coming from behind to defeat No. 10 University of California-Davis, 9-8, at the Anteater Aquatics Complex.

Maddie O’Reilly factored in the first seven Michigan goals against the Aggies of UC-Davis, while Maddy Steere had three late goals in the win. Kayla Barone, Erin Neustrom and O’Reilly had two goals apiece in the loss to Hawaii.

Michigan will play its final game of the tournament on Sunday, February 27, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific against the host Anteaters of No. 7 the University of California-Irvine.

Trailing by two or three goals for much of the game against Hawaii, Michigan ensured that the season’s third meeting between the Wolverines and the Rainbow Wahine would come down to the wire. Michigan trailed 9-6 going into the fourth quarter but drew within a single goal and had the ball with 1:18 to play. However, the Wolverines could not convert, and Hawaii put the game away on an even-strength goal with 25 seconds remaining.

Michigan fell behind 2-0 before Barone got U-M on the board via an assist from Steere. Neustrom then fired a shot to the back of the net, assisted by O’Reilly, at the 1:22 mark to make it a one-goal game. But Hawaii scored 20 seconds later and again on its next possession to take a three-goal lead into the second quarter.

Michigan cut the deficit to two at 6-4 late in the second quarter when O’Reilly scored with two minutes to play and Ava Morrant followed that up with a marker at 1:02. Still, Hawaii again took momentum, scoring on a power play with 32 seconds left. 

In the third quarter, U-M again cut the lead to two when Barone took a feed from Morrant on a 6-on-5 advantage with just under five minutes to play. The teams traded goals again, with Neustrom’s tally assisted by O’Reilly, but Hawaii scored again to keep U-M at bay after three quarters, 9-6.

Mounting its comeback in the fourth, Steere made it a 9-7 game at the 6:40 mark after a steal from O’Reilly put her in prime position. Neustrom then drew a foul, and Steere scored on a 6-on-5 with 3:47 to go to set up the final dramatic finish.

Barone, Steere and Neustrom all had two goals, while Alex Brown made 10 saves.

In game two, UC-Davis blitzed the Wolverines with three early goals before U-M could collect itself. O’Reilly scored on an extra attacker at the 1:40 mark on an assist from Sofie Pontré to gain momentum going into the second quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Neustrom deposited a shot in the goal with O’Reilly again being involved on the assist.

O’Reilly and Pontré then changed roles as O’Reilly tied things up at the two-minute mark. O’Reilly continued to draw attention from the UC Davis defense and found Morrant for a goal with 58 seconds left to give Michigan its first lead of the day, 4-3. The lead was short-lived, however, as Grace Pelky scored 21-seconds later to tie things up at the break.

UC-Davis twice grabbed leads in the second half only to have O’Reilly stay involved in bringing the Wolverines back, assisting on a pair Steere goals to draw even at 6-6 with 3:44 to go in the third.

Michigan took its first lead since the first quarter, 7-6, as O’Reilly dented the twine off an assist from Barone at the 6:24 mark of the fourth. 

UC Davis answered with 5:15 to play before Michigan reclaimed the lead on its first goal of the day not involving O’Reilly. Neustrom took a feed from Kata Utassy with an extra attacker at the 2:39 mark to build momentum.

Steere then gave U-M its first multi-goal lead of the day with under two minutes to play on a feed from Barone. UC-Davis scored on a five-meter shot with 11 seconds remaining but would get no further.

O’Reilly finished the game with three goals and four assists in a superb showing while Steere netted three of her own.

Release courtesy University of Michigan Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association