ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan water polo team split its first day as the host of the Michigan Invitational by topping No. 5 the University of Hawaii 10-8 before falling to No. 2 Stanford University, 14-5, at home in Canham Natatorium.
The day began with an exciting showdown between No. 5 Hawaii and the Wolverines, as U-M held off a late Rainbow Wahine challenge to win the Michigan Invitational opener, 10-8.
The Maize and Blue brought a 9-6 lead into the fourth quarter, but Hawaii was able to score two goals in quick succession with a minute and a half left to bring the score to 9-8. Senior captain Erin Neustrom stopped the possibility of a comeback and scored with just 58 seconds remaining off an assist from fellow senior captain Ava Morrant to eventually give the Wolverines the win.
Michigan jumped ahead in the first minute of the game as fifth-year Maddie O’Reilly found the back of the net. The Wolverines fought off a few Hawaii offensive attacks and flipped the pressure to score twice. Senior Kayla Barone and sophomore Elise Walker both scored to give U-M a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. The Rainbow Wahine fought back to tie the game at 3 with 15 seconds left in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Wolverines jump in front once again, as Barone scored her second of the game just 40 seconds into the frame. U-M scored three more times in the stanza with Morrant and sixth-year Maddy Steere adding their names to the scoresheet, and O’Reilly adding her second tally of the match to give Michigan a 7-3 lead at the end of the first half.
The third was a back-and-forth battle with Hawaii opening the scoring in the period. Under a minute later, Morrant found the back of the net again, but Hawaii was able to do the same soon after. Both teams scored again near the close of the period with junior Sophie Tovani giving the Wolverines a 9-5 advantage.
Junior Alex Brown, who played in goal the first half, picked up the win in goal for the Wolverines, finishing with three saves. Senior Sophie Jackson played the second half and made five saves. Michigan capitalized on its scoring chances, shooting .556 percent – while holding Hawaii to a .320 shooting percentage – and posting a significant advantage on power-play chances (.429 to .200).
In the host Wolverines’ final game of day, Michigan fell behind No. 2 Stanford early and never fully recovered, falling 14-5 to the Cardinal.
The Wolverines started off the game on the back foot with Stanford scoring the first two goals of the match. Barone scored the first goal of the game for the Wolverines. Stanford added two more in the quarter with one coming on the advantage to acquire a 4-1 lead..
The second half opened with a 4-0 Stanford scoring run. Morrant terminated the Cardinal scoring spree by connecting on a man-up chance. Stanford answered quickly and the half ended with the visitors holding a 9-2 lead.
Stanford came out for the second half and added two more goals in the third quarter to extend its lead to 11-2.
Michigan tried to battle back in the fourth quarter, scoring two early goals as Erin Neustrom found the back of the net on the advantage in the first minute before sixth-year Maddy Steere scored less than two minutes later to cut the Cardinal lead to six.
Stanford and U-M then traded goals, with O’Reilly getting on the scoresheet for the Wolverines. The Cardinal added two more to close out the game.
The Maize and Blue were outshot 29-19 by the Cardinal and the Wolverines’ goalkeeper tandem of Jackson and Brown tallied three and six saves, respectively.
Release courtesy University of Michigan Athletics Communications