No. 11 University of Maryland Shellshocks No. 13 University of Michigan, 10-9, to Claim Western Division Championship No. 1 Seed
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- It was a fitting way for Senior Day to end for the No. 11 University of Maryland. Playing in their final home game, goalkeeper Shelby Reyes made key defensive plays down the stretch and defender Christine Goetsch scored with 25 seconds left to lift the Terrapins to a thrilling 10-9 win over No. 13 University of Michigan at home in Eppley Recreation Center.
The victory, Maryland's sixth straight and 12th in the last 13 games, clinched the regular season Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Western Division title and the top seed at next week's tournament hosted by Indiana University.
After Michigan tied the game at 9-all at 1:31 of the fourth quarter on Kelsey Nolan's third goal of the game, the defenses tightened for both teams.
The Terps (17-4, 6-0) stopped the Wolverines on the man-advantage when Danielle Robinson was ejected at the 4:34 mark.
Reyes, who had eight saves, stopped a potential breakaway on a steal in front of the net with 3:30 left in the game. She also had two blocks off point-blank attempts in the fourth.
"Shelby made some key plays in the fourth quarter," Maryland head coach Carl Salyer said.
But Michigan had key defensive plays, withstanding a pair of man-advantage situations for the Terps in the final 3:49.
However, it was the offensive-minded Katie Ermakova who made a pair of key defensive plays.
Ermakova and Allison Campbell thwarted a breakaway attempt with just under 1:00 to go and then Ermakova set up the game-winner.
The sophomore stole the ball in the middle of the pool with 34 seconds left, sent an outlet pass to Simone Lewis on the right side who feed an uncovered Goetsch about 10 meters out. The senior calmly moved in and drilled a shot past Morgan Turner from the five-meter mark.
"I was getting ready to call a timeout, but I saw that Christine was wide open in the middle so we played it out," Salyer said of the final goal.
For Maryland, it was its first-ever win over traditional power Michigan (18-11, 4-2 CWPA West) which has represented the CWPA at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament in three of the last four years.
"There's no one in the East we haven't beaten now," Salyer said.
After the game was tied three times in the first quarter, Maryland took a 5-3 lead on Campbell's goal at 2:25 of the second quarter.
"We started a little shaky on the defensive end, but we kept battling and made some plays," Salyer said. "They had fun out there."
The Wolverines tied the game at five-all on Nolan's strike with 59 seconds left in the opening half.
Michigan was never able to gain the lead in the second half, but the Terps could not get more than a one-goal advantage in the final two quarters of a game which was tied eight times.
Nicole Tobin had a team-high three goals, all from close range, and Campbell scored twice for Maryland which had lost its first 10 games to the Wolverines.
Lewis was also able to contain Kiki Golden, Michigan's leading scorer. She had just one goal after coming in with a team-high 48.
The Terps will get a bye in the opening round of the seven-team CWPA Western Division Tournament which begins Saturday at Indiana University.
Maryland will play the winner of the game between No. 4 seed Hartwick College and No. 5 seed Gannon University which is set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Terps will be play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Indiana is the No. 2 seed and Michigan is the No. 3 seed, with Notre Dame College and Salem International University rating at No. 6 and 7, respectively.
Goetsch, Reyes and Carly Hoshko, Maryland's three seniors, were honored prior to the Michigan game.
"It was a great way to send the seniors out," Salyer said. "I'm really proud of what they've done for the program."
Release courtesy Maryland Athletic Communications