Michigan Finishes Conference Play 12-0, Earns No. 1 Seed for CWPA Championship

Michigan Finishes Conference Play 12-0, Earns No. 1 Seed for CWPA Championship

4/10/2022 8:15:00 PM

// Bridgette Underwood

»Michigan finished conference play with a perfect 12-0 record, earning the No. 1 seed in the CWPA Conference Championship and a first-round bye.
» Maddy Steere, Ava Morrant and Maddie O’Reilly led scoring with four goals apiece on the day.
»Michigan is now 52-2 in CWPA games all-time, and remains undefeated against Harvard (16-0) and St. Francis (9-0).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan water polo team (24-8, 12-0 CWPA) defeated No. 19 Harvard, 15-9, and St. Francis (Pa.), 14-3, to stay undefeated in conference play Sunday (April 10) at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool in the final games of the regular season.

With Michigan finishing conference play 12-0, the Wolverines solidified the No. 1 seed in the CWPA Championship and earned a first-round bye. The CWPA Championship will take place at Bucknell (Lewisburg, Pa.) And is slated for Friday-Sunday, April 22-24. The winner of the tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, May 6-8, which Michigan is hosting at Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor.

With wins over Harvard and St. Francis, Michigan is now 54-2 in CWPA play all-time as well as 13-8 against ranked opponents. The Wolverines also remain undefeated againt both opponents in their respective all-time series; UM is now 16-0 against Harvard and 9-0 against St. Francis. Michigan has not lost a conference game since 2018.

Game 1: # 7 Michigan 15, # 19 Harvard 9

Maddy Steere led the scoring for Michigan in the first game of the day, notching four goals as UM defeated Harvard, 15-9. Maddie O’Reillywho tallied three goals in the fourth quarter alone, finished with a hat trick.

The contest was a back-and-forth affair for the first half, but the Wolverines were able to pull away halfway through the third quarter behind goals from Steere, Sofie Pontré and Kata Utassy.

Erin Neustrom put the first Wolverine goal on the board one minute and 39 seconds into the first quarter. The teams traded goals early until a goal from Sophie Tovani gave Michigan a two-goal lead, 4-2.

Harvard outscored Michigan in the second quarter three goals to two, and the Wolverines went into halftime up by just one, 6-5. Michigan rallied in the third quarter, however, as goals from Steere (two), Pontre and Utassy put Michigan up, 10-7, heading into the final quarter of play.

O’Reilly and Ava Morrant and were the lone Wolverines to score in the final quarter, as Morrant netted two goals and O’Reilly found the back of the net three times within a span of five minutes.

Game 2: # 7 Michigan 14, St. Francis 3

Michigan started slow in the second game of the day but went on a 10-0 scoring run over the second and third quarters to rally for a 14-3 victory over St. Francis.

Elise Walker led Michigan in scoring with three goals while Lola Ciruli, Morrant, and Pontre chipped in two apiece. O’Reilly and Utassy both earned five assists while goalie Sophie Jackson had an assist of her own. Jackson and Alex Brown combined for seven saves and allowed three goals.

Pontre stuck first for the Wolverines, putting Michigan on the board in the first quarter with a bullet of a shot, but St. Francis evened the score with two minutes remaining in the first and then pulled ahead for the first and only Red Flash lead of the game with a goal in the second quarter. Down 2-1, a goal from Walker tied the game, 2-2, and began a 10-0 scoring run for the Wolverines.

One goal apiece from Walker, Morrant, Pontre and Neustrom gave Michigan a 5-2 lead heaving into halftime, and the rally continued in the third quarter. Morrant started the goal-scoring for Michigan in the third frame and Walker added another just 42 seconds later that gave Michigan a 7-2 lead over the Red Flash. Jess Henningsen, Alison Lock, Ciruli and O’Reilly all found the back of the net in the third, and though St. Francis stopped the Michigan scoring run with 1:30 to go in the quarter, the Wolverines took an 11-3 lead into the fourth.

In the final quarter of play, goals from Ciruli, Walker and Ashley O’Neill tacked on to Michigan’s lead and the Wolverines defeated the Red Flash 14-3.

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