Calif. -- The No. 5-ranked University of Michigan water
polo team split its games on day one of the University of
California-Irvine Invitational, downing No. 13-ranked San Diego
State University, 6-4, and falling to No. 3-ranked University of
California-Los Angeles, 7-5, at Corona del Mar High School.
Senior Leah Robertson (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor) had a hat trick against the Aztecs and freshman Kiki Golden (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) followed suit against the Bruins.
Sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Turner (Mission Viejo, Calif./Trabuco Hills) played seven quarters, making 10 saves and earning both decisions.
A frantic back-and-forth pace defined the opening period as SDSU took a 2-1 lead at halftime. Robertson got the Wolverines rolling in the second half, scoring on a counter attack launched by junior Alison Mantel (Miami, Fla./Gulliver). After junior Lauren Orth (Poway, Calif./Poway) sandwiched a rebound goal between two Aztec markers, the teams were deadlocked at 4-4 with one period to play.
The Wolverines found themselves down a player early in the final frame. Turner swiped the ball away to end the threat and sent Robertson down the pool for a counter attack goal. Freshman Lauren Colton (Tustin, Calif./Tesoro) put an insurance marker on the board after drawing a foul outside of five meters. Junior Ryley Plunkett (Modesto, Calif./Johansen)
Michigan struggled on the power play against UCLA and fell behind by five goals entering the final frame, trailing 7-2. Fifth-year senior Brittany May (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) took over in the cage for the final stanza and was tested early with a five-meter penalty shot, which she blocked. Golden scored her second goal of the game to spark the comeback bid, with senior Terri Bukofzer (Vernon Hills, Ill./Stevenson) following with a goal of her own just over a minute later. Golden completed the hat trick and pulled U-M to within two goals with penalty toss with 1:58 remaining. May was tested on a last-minute penalty kill, but Michigan could not find the final two goals to close the defecit.
The Wolverines will play No. 8-ranked Arizona State University at 8 a.m. PST at the Anteater Aquatics Complex for day two of the UCI Invitational on Sunday, February 28. A victory would put Michigan in the fifth-place game at 2:45 p.m. PST and a loss would place it in the 1:30 p.m. PST seventh-place game. No. 3-ranked University of Hawaii and No. 10-ranked San Jose State University will vie for the other spots in each game. made the lead stand, posting a field block with 18 seconds remaining to clinch the victory.
Release courtesy Michigan Athletic Communications