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IRVINE, Calif. The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan water polo team dropped its first game of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational to host/No. 10 the University of California-Irvine, 16-11, at the Anteater Aquatics Complex.

It was a balanced effort for the U-M offense as Lola Ciruli and Sophia Panossian tied for the team lead with three points each. Four other Wolverines tallied two points, including Libby Alsemgeest and Kaia Levenfeld, who both found the back of the net twice in the defeat.

UC-Irvine quickly opened the scoring as Jasmine Bugelli dented the twine 32 seconds into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Kata Utassy quickly tied the score by burying a penalty shot at 7:15 in the first. Levenfeld took advantage of the power play and scored to put the Wolverines ahead, 2-1, with 6:21 to go in the opening frame. The Anteaters scored an extra-man goal of their own to tie the score at two before Alsemgeest closed the quarter with a goal to tilt the game in Michigan’s favor, 3-2, heading to the second quarter.

UC-Irvine responded with a 4-0 run that lasted nearly half of the second quarter to vault in front, 6-3. Levenfeld stopped the bleeding to pull back within two, but Kennedy East found paydirt to put the Anteaters back in front by three goals, 7-4, with 4:02 to play in the first half. Michigan found some life offensively before the halftime whistle, outscoring UC-Irvine, 3-1, to pull back within one at 8-7 after 16 minutes of play.

The Anteaters started the second half with two goals to restore its multi-goal edge, 10-7, at 6:34 in the third. Panossian answered with a goal, but UC-Irvine’s Gracie Helberg was equal to the task and tallied a goal of her own. Ciruli and Panossian both put one past the goalie to cut the Anteaters’ lead once again to one, 11-10, at 2:46 in the third. That was as close as Michigan would get as UC-Irvine closed the Top-10 matchup with a 6-1 spurt to pull away and seal the 16-11 defeat for the Maize and Blue.

Release courtesy University of Michigan Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association