ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan water polo team split the second day of the Michigan Invitational by topping No. 22 Marist College, 13-5 ,before coming up short against No. 3 the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), 13-9, at Canham Natatorium.
The final day of the Michigan Invitational began with a dominating win for the Wolverines as they took down the Red Foxes 13-5.
Michigan opened the game strong with fifth-year Maddie O’Reilly finding the back of the net early. Sixth-year captain Maddy Steere followed up with a goal of her own a minute later. After Marist scored two goals in quick succession to tie the game at two-all, the Wolverines countered with two goals of their own from senior captain Erin Neustrom and Steere in the next minute. The Maize and Blue kept the lead for the rest of the game, adding two more in the quarter as sophomore Elise Walker and senior Kayla Barone found the back of the net.
The second quarter opened in the same fashion as the first, with O’Reilly tallying the first goal. Marist responded with a quick goal, but could not find anything else in the quarter, as junior goalie Alex Brown kept the Red Foxes off the scoreboard for the final 6:09 of the half. Michigan extended its lead with senior Ava Morrant adding herself to the scoresheet to end the half 8-3.
The Maize and Blue opened the third stanza strong again, with Walker scoring her second of the match. Marist mounted some pressure, scoring a goal and forcing senior Sophie Jackson to make some big saves, including on a penalty shot, but could not mount a substantial comeback attempt.
U-M looked sharp in the fourth period, adding four more goals. O’Reilly registered two, giving her four on the day. Fifth-year Sofie Pontré found the back of the net off a pass from O’Reilly, and sophomore Kasey Umlauf scored her first goal of the season late in the period to end the match at 13-5.
Between the pipes, Brown picked up the win after playing in goal the first half, finishing with three saves. Jackson played the second half and made seven saves. Michigan was firing on all cylinders, shooting .667 on the power play and .448 overall, while holding the Red Foxes to a .179 shooting percentage and .167 on the power play.
Facing UCLA, the Wolverines and Bruins locked in a back-and-forth clash, but Michigan had to dig itself out of an early hole. After Barone scored Michigan’s first goal of the game, UCLA climbed to a 4-1 advantage just two minutes later. U-M battled back, bringing the score to 5-4 by the end of the first thanks to a pair of goals from Neustrom and a tally from Morrant.
Michigan and UCLA were locked in a stalemate for more than half of the second quarter, but the Bruins pushed their lead to 6-4 at the 2:44 mark. After another UCLA goal, O’Reilly found the back of the net for her first goal of the game to bring the Wolverines back within two at 7-5 going into halftime.
The Maize and Blue tried to claw its way back in the second half, but the Bruins countered every Wolverine punch. Neustrom’s third goal of the day along with Barone’s second made it a 9-7 game with just 5:25 to go in the third. UCLA parried back with two goals to push the game to 11-7.
Walker scored late in the third quarter to make the score 11-8 to go into the fourth quarter, and O’Reilly notched her second with just 1:19 remaining in the game.
The goalie tandem of Brown and Jackson had their hands full with a prolific UCLA offense, as Brown stopped five shots and Jackson three. The Bruins shot .464 for the game while the Wolverines managed a .273 mark.
Release courtesy University of Michigan Athletics Communications