SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan water polo team defeated host No. 11 University of California-Santa Barbara, 9-7, and fell to No. 4 University of California, 8-7, on a last-second shot to close play at the UCSB Winter invitational at USCB Campus Pool. The Wolverines finished the weekend with a 2-2 record.
Michigan lost a heartbreaker to Cal when the Bears’ Claire Sonne scored the game-winning goal just before the clock hit zero.
Cal rallied in the third quarter, scoring three unanswered goals to tie the game at 5 heading into the final period.
After the Golden Bears took their first lead of the contest at 6-5, Neustrom put in a strong goal for her second of the game to know the game at 6. Two minutes later, Cal regained the lead only to see Michigan answer on its next possession with a score by O’Reilly and the game was tied once again.
Michigan called timeout with 1:12 remaining and had a good look on goal but could not convert. Cal then called timeout with 41 seconds left. The Wolverines were put at a disadvantage with an exclusion called with 10 seconds left in the game. Despite good defense, Cal scored the game winner moments later.
Neustrom and O’Reilly each scored two goals while O’Reilly also had two assists to lead the Wolverines. Senior Heidi Ritner had seven saves in the cage.
The Wolverines had a quick turnaround — less than three hours — to get ready for its final game of the weekend against host UCSB.
Michigan showed no signs of letdown early as they came out firing and built a 3-1 lead in the first quarter. Junior captain Sofie Pontré led the charge with two goals to kickstart the team.
Michigan led, 4-2, at the end of the first quarter. However, UCSB made a second-quarter run to cut the lead to one goal, 5-4, at halftime.
Senior goalkeeper Heidi Ritner came up big for the Wolverines. She stopped several 6-on-5 attempts and three penalty shots to U-M enough time to get the offense going again.
O’Reilly sparked the team on the offensive end with her second goal of the game to give Michigan a 6-4 lead in the third quarter. The Wolverines led, 6-5, in the fourth quarter when freshman Anne Rankin scored with six minutes left to give U-M a two-goal lead, 7-5. Then a backhanded goal by Neustrom and a lob by senior Skyler Pyle increased the Michigan lead to 9-5.
UCSB scored two late goals but ran out of time, and Michigan earned the victory.
Ritner finished with 10 saves in the game, and O’Reilly scored a hat trick to lead Michigan in scoring.
Release courtesy University of Michigan Athletics Communications