The Wolverines are Big Ten Champions!
The Wolverines came out with more intensity after getting woken up by their earlier game, which Purdue would match. In the first half of play neither team could gain much of an advantage as the Wolverines maintained effective dropping, crashing, and help on defense to thwart the Boilermakers one-man led attack. At half the score was 3 to 3, with no desire to go into another overtime game, seniors Matt Woelfel and Levi Barry “put da team on they back,” scoring a combined four goals in the second half to lead the Wolverines to an 8 to 5 win, guaranteeing themselves a spot in the Big Ten Championship game. After the long and tiring day, the Wolverines enjoyed a great meal at Scotty’s Brewhouse: http://www.scottysbrewhouse.com/, which is unique to Indiana, to prepare for the championship game.
The tournament was a great experience for all those involved and I want to thank all the families and friends for coming to support us and help us in completing our season long goal. We were treated to delicious lunches all weekend, provided by the Viviano’s, Hubbard’s, Cole’s, Barry’s, and Takahashi’s. The Wolverines season is not over yet. Next, they look to take the title of best club team in the nation at The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Aquatic center on November 11th,12th, and 13th. For those who can’t make it to Atlanta there is an opportunity to watch all the games at nationals streaming online at: http://www.collegiatewaterpolo.com/news/2011-12/110111NCCCStream. Thank you all for your continued support of the Michigan Men’s Water Polo team. Go Blue! http://www.umich.edu/~umpolo/donate.html.
Wolverines in West Lafayette
The Wolverine Invite 2011: A Home Tournament
The Wolverines of Michigan were lucky enough to play host to a full complement of Midwest teams over the weekend of October 8th and 9th at their home pool in the Canham Natatorium. In contrast to the almost 8 hour expedition to Iowa City, IA the five minute walk to Canham was a leisurely one to the familiar intersection of Hoover and State Street. However, it was not a short journey for all attendees, including Captain Patrick Trabert’s parents who made the trek from Twin Falls, ID. Which is approximately a 23-day trip by foot (according to Google maps)!
The Wolverine Invite – Michigan ‘B’
by Peter Dejonge
On the beautiful fall morning of September 30th, the Men’s Club Water Polo team piled into several vans and settled in for the seven-hour car ride to Iowa City, IA. The Hawkeye-hosted tournament would be their first official Big Ten competition. The ride was flat and long, but team morale was as high as the food at Culver’s was delicious and greasy.
The next morning, after a great night sleep in a luxurious hotel, the Wolverines faced their first opponent—Illinois. Michigan started off strong and drew first blood, netting two goals in the first. They continued to outscore the Illini throughout the next three quarters. The Maize and Blue’s own California dreamboat, Chris Takahashi, contributed to the win with a hat trick. Final score: 7-2 Michigan.
Coming off a victory, the Wolverines felt confident and better than ever—ready to go back to AA with a 4-0 record in the conference. On the sidelines though, the Hoosiers were looking to be that kink in Michigan’s plan. The Michigan-Indiana game began and the enemy came out fightin, more so than the Fightin’ Illini had, and it seemed to take Michigan by surprise. At the end of the first the score was 0-1 Indiana. The game turned into more of a swim-meet as Michigan tried to keep up with the fast, driving hordes of Red and White. Although both Kevin Jensen and Grant Cole found success in 2 goals a piece, the Wolverines could not rally enough strength to outlast Indiana. When the final buzzer sounded, the score read 5-7, Indiana victory.
Now, Blue was angry. They had clearly overlooked Indiana in their fixed sights on the Big Ten Championship in late October. With a humbled attitude and after a reinvigorating team meeting, Michigan went on to trounce the Wisconsin Badgers in their last game of the day 8-3 and smash the home team, Iowa, in their Sunday game, 13-4.
Michigan left 3-1 and headed home with a new sense of direction and burning-chlorine filled eyes. The next tournament would be on their home turf and they were ready to spend a week of hard conditioning and drills to prove to their fans what kind of team they were.
Miami of Ohio Invitational
The Wolverines descended upon the college town of Oxford, Ohio on Friday September 23rd for the Miami University http://www.miami.muohio.edu/ club water polo invitational. The vans arrived late on Friday night to Oxford but were still able to see some of the sites in Oxford on their bustling main street, “High St.” However, the team stayed about 30 minutes away in nearby Cincinnati.
Next we will be traveling to Iowa City, Iowa for a Big Ten, CWPA tournament on October 1st and 2md. Thank you again for your continued support of the club, we couldn’t do it without you:
Under The Lights: Spartan Invite
Friday night the Michigan Men’s Water Polo team traveled to East Lansing for this year’s first match with the defending Big Ten Champion Michigan State Spartans. The ‘B’ Team game was at 7:20 and the ‘A’ team played at 8:10. At the outset of the B-game a light sprinkle began to fall and the lights had come on. The B squad went down 2-0 early. However, they would battle back from being down 6-2 behind the leadership of Junior Jack Tesar and great goalie play by sophomore Ian Waters. Newcomers to the team: Brad Frost, Max Kilibarta, Matt Kneisser and Garrett Wood added life to the offense in the second half. The b-squad brought the Spartan’s within 2 goals during the fourth quarter to be down only 6-4. After an unfortunate break-away that led to a counter attack goal for the Spartans giving the Spartan side a 3 goal lead, the Wolverine’s B-team would come up short, falling to the Spartan’s B side 8-4.
By the time of the A-team’s sprint the sprinkle had turned into a steady rain. The rain did not deter the hundred plus, clearly uninhibited, Spartan fans from polluting the air with their cheers of: “Go Green, Go White!” To counter, the Michigan cheering section was filled with dedicated friends and families that traveled all the way to East Lansing. I personally will take quality over quantity any time. Thanks again guys!
Behind their enamored fans the Spartans jumped out to a 1, 2, and then 3 goal lead. Despite the score, the Wolverines’ persistence would soon pay off. After many squandered chances, that included a shot that hit the side post and skirted along the goal line, the Boys in Blue would answer with a counter attack goal to make the game 3-1 going into half time. After the restart, the Spartans started off hot scoring 2 unanswered goals jumping out to a 5-1 lead. The Wolverines would not go down without a fight, as newcomer to the team, Freshman Michael Abell-Venit, would score with a laser from up top with a man advantage. By the fourth quarter the rain had turned into a downpour. Then, during a 6 on 4 advantage, studly sophomore, Grant Cole, converted a skip shot to pull within 2 goals. Unfortunately for the Wolverines it proved to be too little too late, as they conceded a goal in the dying seconds for a final score of 6-3. The result was disappointing but it was a well-fought game by the Wolverines and their dedicated, sopping wet fans.
The Wolverines returned to East Lansing on Saturday with a new vigor. They opened their campaign with a 10-1 victory over an undermanned Iowa team. The only goals scored in the game were by Michigan players because the Iowa team borrowed sophomore Riley Cole, who scored against his own team. The great defense continued in the second game of the day against University of Notre Dame. Ray Viviano was a stud in goal, only letting in shots off of 5-meter penalties. Behind a hat trick by newcomer, Graduate Student Steven Brown, the Wolverines won 9-2. The day was capped with a 9-1 win over Lindenwood “B” http://www.lindenwood.edu/. After a long day the defense was still able to execute and shut down the hole set and get a few quick counter goals. The team was wiped by the end of the day and was excited to go back to Ben “Tay” Hubbard’s house to watch the recorded Michigan vs. Notre Dame football game. Needless to say, the football game did not disappoint and helped psych up the Wolverines for their Sunday Match against the Lindenwood “A” team.
Sunday morning the Lindenwood Lions certainly brought their “A” game. In a very physical game, sophomore Chris ‘Tako’ Takahashi shined, directing the offense, playing whole set D, and drawing kick-outs by playing an intense brand of water polo that the rest of the team was forced to keep up with. Thanks to his efforts, the Wolverines went into half with a 4-3 lead. Due to some miscues on offense the Lions stormed back in the second half scoring 6 goals in order to defeat the Wolverines 9-7 for the final game of the tournament. The Wolverines finished the tournament with a 3 – 2 record and recorded a 6th place finish out of 16 teams.
I would also like to give a special thanks to Barbara Barry for organizing the parents who brought food for the team this weekend. We are all so thankful and her pasta salad is delicious! Also, to all the families and friends that came to support us over the weekend. Finally I would like to thank the efforts of Jack ‘Tazer’ Tesar, Ray Viviano, Ben ‘air hubbard’ Hubbard, and Peter DeJonge for continuing to help keep the Men’s Water Polo club running smoothly.
Thank you friends, families, alumni and boosters for your continued support of the University of Michigan Men’s Water Polo team:
Hillbilly Invitational Champions
One of my favorite parts of playing sports is the fact that I get to eat anything and everything in sight. On such a long car ride, you have to stop, stretch your legs and of course eat candy (Sameer, I hope you’re reading this). Our first stop was at a Waffle House that Ringo claimed was the cleanest he had ever seen, shown below. This set me off on a quest for Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, which I had heard so much about. Long story short, Roscoe’s is based in California and there are none anywhere close to where we were, although there is a Roscoe’s Auto Parts in Kentucky, which we almost went to. We also stopped at Dunkin Donuts before pulling into a KFC in Kentucky for dinner. As it turns out we were only 10 miles from the original KFC in Corbin. It was heartbreaking to be so close without going but we had to travel on. But don’t feel bad, the consolation was that we stopped at another waffle house so I could combine my KFC chicken with waffles. This would have been the best meal of the weekend except we stopped at an awesome chicken chain called Zaxby’s and then ate the best barbecue in Knoxville at Dead End Barbecue. After that we went to see the movie ‘Our Idiot Brother’ as a team. I highly recommend it, it was funny and had a good message to just have fun, keep it simple and trust people.
Figure 1: Waffle House Stop # 1
Figure 2: CHICKEN AND WAFFLES!!!!
Figure 3: Tay’s Dinner at Dead End Barbecue
Figure 4: Some team members at Dead End Barbecue
After practice on Wednesday we ate a meal at my home in Ann Arbor cooked by my mom. We ate Pulled Pork, Chicken, Corn/Tomato Salad, Potatoes and Brownies with Ice Cream and Raspberries. Everyone is shown here about to explode. It was great.
The water polo wasn't so bad either. We had a great week of preseason practices leading up to the tournament. Preseason consisted of two-a-days: morning conditioning run by the captains in the antique IMSB pool and then a skill practice run by coach Tony in the evenings. The attitude at practice was great. Everyone who came, worked very hard and I heard many compliments on Tony’s practice design. The philosophy of our team is that you are going to play how you practice and that preparation is key.
The third game of the tournament was on Sunday morning against the University of Virginia Cavaliers. The Wolverines started the scoring fast and early, going up 4-0 in the first with goals by Senior Ben Spulber and Sophomore Kurt "the burt" Jensen. From there the Wolverines didn't look back. Of the 15 players that came to the tournament 7 scored in the game against the Cavaliers which epitomized the unselfish play that the Wolverines displayed all weekend, culminating in a 12-1 victory.
Winning those three games put us in the Championship against Tampa at 12:45. They are a Masters group who had beaten Michigan State in the semifinal game that followed ours. Against Tampa we continued playing strong defense and got some clutch goals in a tough, gritty, back and forth game. After four quarters the game was tied, which put us into sudden-death overtime. After successfully defending a 5 on 6 opportunity, Peter DeJonge was able to beat his man on the counter and finished with a man on his back to win the Championship of the Hillbilly tournament 6-5. Paul, ‘Ringo’ Hernley, Kenichi Osawa and Adam Berry also had consistently great performances. I was named MVP of the tournament, but the award (rightfully) usually goes to a player on the best TEAM. As Bill Russell said "When I was in college, I found out that the MVPs and all-league team and all that are hugely political. So I decided that if I win every game, that becomes historical fact, not anyone’s opinion."
If any players, parents or alumni want a computer file of any of the games we would be happy to copy them to an external hard drive. Dvd is also a possibility, but it will take some time to record and I am quite busy with school and practice. If anyone has a dvd recorder and would like to record copies we can send these out.
Thank you for your continued support of the Michigan Men's Water Polo team:
Notre Dame Tournement - March 26-27, 2011
The new and improved version of the Michigan Men’s Water Polo team went to it’s first tournament on March 26-27th at the Notre Dame Alumni tournament. The team had been practicing a couple times a week and it was a good chance to build some chemistry, have fun and see what we can do. Three of our seniors, Dan Basile, Robbie Gomez and Sameer Oak, played their final tournament with the team and newcomer Kyle Overman got his first game action.
The first game was against the Notre Dama Alumni, whom the Wolverines easily dispatched 10-3. The next game was a gritty 8-4 win against an undermanned but feisty Loyola squad. The next game was against Notre Dame and a fired up Irish crowd. Realizing that we would have to withstand a strong early burst of energy from the home team, we decided to bring Tako(Chris Takahashi) and Tay (Ben Hubbard) off of the bench. Notre Dame jumped out to an early 2 goal lead and Michigan had to claw back slowly, pulling away from the home team in the second half. The final game was against St. Louis, who was 2-1, while the Wolverines were 3-0. A loss would have meant a tie and giving up the tiebreaker. Once again St. Louis pulled ahead early and once again Michigan slowly fought their way back.
“… and you’re also going to walk out of here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame Michigan. In this lifetime you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself. And after what you’ve gone through if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t never going to happen. Now go on out there.”
Dear Families, Friends, and Alumni of Michigan Men's Water Polo,
I hope the new year has started off as eventful for you as it has for
For fundraising, the team has been busy working the Varsity and Club
Thanks for your continued support of the Michigan Men's Club Water
Dear Families, Friends, and Alumni of Michigan Men's Water Polo,
Happy New Years and Happy Holidays to everyone! 2010 was an extremely
Moving onto 2011 we are out with the old and in with the new as our
Captain and President
BIG TEN TITLE ELUDES AGAIN
In a season where the Michigan men’s water polo team expected to finish atop the Big Ten for the first time since 2004, all eyes were on the weekend of October 30-31 all season long.
The Big Ten Championships were held in West Lafayette, IN this past weekend, on Purdue’s picturesque (when not covered in construction) campus. Coming in as the #2 seed, Michigan would start their quest for the Big Ten crown against a very physical Iowa Hawkeyes squad who were desperate to escape the conference cellar. With the Maize & Blue’s offense finally clicking on all cylinders, this was a no-doubter from the get-go. Save for a half dozen weak perimeter shots, Iowa was utterly stifled by the suffocating Wolverines defense. On the other end of the pool, Michigan was able to spread the ball around, work their offensive game plan, and utilize the full shot clock en route to a 15-goal outburst as the game went to U-M 15-4.
As Michigan cruised into the semifinals, they were about to be met by the hungry home team. The Purdue faithful created a rousing atmosphere as they tried to will the Boilermakers into the conference championship. However, the Wolverines were in no mood to be upset, as the #7 team in the country jumped ahead 3-0 early in the 1st quarter. Purdue eventually was able to cease the debauchery, but was never able to figure out the U-M offense, surrendering goals from the inside and out. By the end of the game, the deflated Purdue fans watched their team succumb to the Wolverines by a final score of 13-8.
The Michigan State Spartans defeated Illinois 7-4 earlier on Saturday to put them into the Championship Game. That meant, for the 3rd year in a row, the Big Ten title game would be between the two teams from the Great Lakes State. Last season, the Spartans won in 2-OT, 8-7.
MSU won the opening sprint of the game, but was unable to capitalize on their first possession of the game. Though the game got off to a slow start offensively, Michigan went up 1-0 on a sleek step-out from senior captain Nick Mansfield (Rockford, MI) midway through the 1st quarter. The two teams traded goals in a low scoring first half that saw Michigan leading 3-2 at the end of the 2nd quarter.
Though the Spartans tied the score early in the 3rd, Michigan went on a scoring barrage in the period to go up 6-3. State rallied back once again, though, and was able to get the score the 7-6 Michigan by the end of the 3rd quarter. With the 4th quarter and that elusive Big Ten title looming, a defensive struggle was sure to ensue.
Defensive breakdowns were the culprit as Michigan State was able to scratch and claw their way to 3 goals in the final quarter. Down by 2 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, junior captain Levi Barry (Portage, MI) scrapped his way for a huge goal to narrow the gap to 9-8 MSU. After stealing the ball from the Spartans late in their shot clock, the Wolverines had one final possession to tie the game up and send it into OT. Working the ball around the perimeter, the final shot sailed just over the upper-right of the cage. State ran the remaining time on the clock out to clinch their sixth consecutive conference title. Michigan would, once again, have to settle for 2nd.
The team had come a long, long way from the beginning to the end of the season, but this particular loss to MSU was one of the toughest the program has had to endure. With Michigan playing both their best offense and defense of the season at the right time, it appeared that the title was theirs. However, Michigan State proved why they are always up there in the Big Ten and the country with their constant ability to find ways to win games, especially in the 4th quarter. For that, I congratulate Michigan State for an impressive victory and I wish them luck at Nationals.
Though we must look ahead to next season far earlier than any of us would have liked, the program is still in great shape. In a year where the roster had a 1:1 returning guys to new guys ratio, Michigan should expect to continue to develop their young talent and compete for the Big Ten crown next season. Though the goals for this season were not met, I will always remember the poise that this team carried – through the victories and everything else. GO BLUE!
To support the Michigan men’s water polo team, please visit us at: http://www.umich.edu/~umpolo/donate.html
TEN WOLVERINES EARN ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN HONORS
The Michigan men’s water polo program was awarded CWPA Team Academic All-American honors for this past season after posting a team GPA of 3.29 – good for seventh in the country! Additionally, ten individuals were named to the CWPA Academic All-American team. Those players are:
Congratulations to everyone who was named an individual Academic All-American and congratulations to the entire team for their strong representation of the University of Michigan in the pool and in the classroom. GO BLUE!!!
WOLVERINE AWARD WINNERS: 2009 SEASON
January 29th, 2010
At the team’s annual post-season banquet, junior Nick Mansfield (Rockford, MI) was named the team’s Most Valuable Player as voted on by the players. In his first season for the Maize and Blue after transferring from the U.S. Naval Academy, Mansfield led the team with 50 goals scored with an impressive 52% shooting percentage.
Junior Dan Basile (Grosse Pointe, MI) was named the team’s Most Improved Player after firmly grasping the team’s go-to-lefty role. Basile upgraded his skill set over the off-season and became a well-rounded player that contributed to a 200% increase in his goals scored from the previous season.
The final player-voted award given out at the banquet went to freshman Ray Viviano (Ann Arbor, MI) who was named the team’s Rookie of the Year. The first-year goalie showed tremendous poise all throughout the season and helped lead the team to an 18-5 record and a Big Ten regular season crown (2nd place overall).
SeniSenior Paul Reynolds did not leave the banquet empty-handed as coaches Bob Sala and Drew Hansz gave Reynolds the prestigious Coaches’ Award for his ability to “take the team to the next level.” Reynolds was a standout utility player this past season, leading the team in assists (14) and drawn kick-outs (19) while adding 20 goals and 30 steals.
The CWPA’s All-Big Ten team featured three Wolverines. Representing Michigan were first-teamers Matt Woelfel (sophomore, East Grand Rapids, MI) and Ryan Pryor (graduate,ongratulations to all of the post-season award winners and great job to everyone on the 2009 Michigan men’s water polo team. It was a great season and we look forward to making 2010 a year to remember. GO BLUE!!!
MICH-AGAIN: BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
October 25th, 2009
By: Robbie Gomez
The 2009 Big Ten Championships were held in Madison, WI this past weekend. The top-seeded Michigan Wolverines entered the tournament on a 13-game winning streak and seeking their first conference title since 2004. The team spent the final week of practice leading up to Big Tens working on the finer points of the team’s offense in hopes of finding that extra spark that could lead them to the National Championship tournament in Gainesville, FL.
The road to the Big Ten title game would go through two teams in pool play. If U-M made it out unscathed, they would earn the right to play for the conference championship. In the weekend’s first game and for the third time this season, the opponent would be the Purdue Boilermakers. Having familiarized themselves with the opponent, the Wolverines were not surprised with what they saw from the fifth-seeded Boilermakers and were able to handle them from the get-go. Michigan protected a lead that they earned very early on en route to a sturdy 10-3 triumph.
Next up was the fourth-seed – the Indiana Hoosiers. Like with Purdue, facing IU was an old hat for Michigan. Like the previous matches between these two teams this season, the Maize and Blue came out on top. However, despite falling behind early on, the Hoosiers scrapped away all the way until the end, managing to make the score a little closer by the end. The Wolverines unleashed another strong offensive performance, though, winning 13-8.
After skating by their first two opponents, Michigan clinched a berth in the conference title game for the ninth time in the last ten seasons. The opponent, like so many times before, was the Michigan State Spartans. Having defeated the defending national champs earlier in the season, the Wolverines were eager to put an end to MSU’s four year-stranglehold on the conference championship.
Sophomore Matt Woelfel (East Grand Rapids, MI) won the opening sprint for Michigan, trying to set the winning tone from the start. The Wolverines executed their offense fairly well in the opening quarter, but they were unable to capitalize on their scoring chances. State, however, was able to take advantage of an early 6-5 opportunity to end the first quarter up by one.
In the second quarter, the two rivals made a point to stop the 2-M game. However, the game opened up after junior Nick Mansfield (Rockford, MI) was able to get the Wolverines on the board midway through the second quarter. Both teams traded goals late in the period to go into halftime deadlocked at three apiece.
The third period was more of the same, as both teams struggled to pull away from each other. Michigan’s bread and butter all season long was drawing kick-outs. In this game, however, that was not the case, as Michigan State took on that role, drawing seven to U-M’s four. Despite it all, Michigan’s hovering defense led to numerous steals, preventing State from having many genuine scoring opportunities. Michigan led by two late in the second half, but Michigan State quickly stomped back in to tie up the Wolverines and eventually go up by one. Woelfel scored a late-game goal to tie it back up and send the game into overtime.
The first overtime period proved to be an exact replica of the regulation play as MSU and U-M traded goals. Tied 6-6, the two teams entered the second overtime period fatigued but determined to win. Woelfel muscled a ball into the back of the Spartan net early in the period to give the Wolverines a 7-6 lead. However, MSU showed why they are a championship team year in and year out as they scored the equalizer from the perimeter the next time down the pool. Barely drawing a kick-out with 30 seconds left in the game, State was able to work their 6-5 offense and score the go-ahead goal with just a few seconds remaining. In a last ditch effort to keep their title hopes afloat, senior Paul Reynolds (Okemos, MI) fired a backhander that hit the inside part of the far goalpost and the MSU goalkeeper was able to snatch it away before it trickled into the net.
It was a great game that, unfortunately, Michigan State won. For the fourth time in five seasons, Michigan was the Big Ten’s Runner-up. Michigan’s season may have come to an abrupt ending meaning it will be the Spartans – not the Wolverines – who must get ready to go to Gainesville. And while the Maize and Blue’s ultimate goal was not achieved, the team had some incredible accomplishments along the way that cannot be ignored:
Though the ending was disappointing, it was, altogether, a successful season. The team enters the off-season with a lot of unfinished business and is sure to come back next season even hungrier than before. To all of the friends and family of the team, thank you for making all of the tournaments this year so special. And to all of the departing players, thank you for your time with Michigan men’s water polo – each and every one of you will be appropriately missed. But now it is time to get ready for next year, as the Wolverines go after the Big Ten Championship harder than ever. GO BLUE!!!
In Ann Arbor? Play polo summer 2009 with these opportunities!
1st opportunity: Great Lakes Water Polo. Look at the calender once you follow the link below, and just show up whenever you wish. It will cost $7/person/practice. The girls teammembers are invited to attend whenever they wish as well.
Down economy can't stop wolverines
By: Robbie pastor Gomez
Even though the excitement of last season has waned over the past few months, the Michigan Men's Water Polo team is busy ensuring that next season is even more spectacular.
The Wolverines have been busy working on their skills and recruiting new talent in addition to working on several fundraisers. The team has already begun working Men's Lacrosse games and the Women's Water Polo tournaments. As always, though, outside donations are greatly appreciated and can be made on the Donation page.
Looking ahead, the team will continue to work on fundraisers in addition to practicing three times a week at Canham Natatorium—the schedule can be found under the Schedule&Results. In addition, the team is planning on playing in an off-season tournament so be sure to stay tuned for more information regarding that.
Thanks for supporting Michigan Men's Water Polo and Go Blue!
Maize and blue-mington:
By: Robbie Pastor Gomez
The Wolverines entered the 2008 Big Ten men’s water polo championships (October 31 – November 2) in Bloomington, IN unranked and underappreciated. Having defeated an astonishing four currently-ranked opponents (#19 Minnesota, #13 Purdue, #10 Grand Valley State, and #8 Lindenwood), Michigan got to Big Tens with a chip on its shoulder. Though they had already proved themselves to themselves, it was time to prove themselves to everyone else.
The first game of the weekend (Friday, October 31) was against Iowa “B” since The Ohio State University dropped out of the postseason tournament a mere two days before it began. The young and inexperienced Hawkeyes received a rude welcoming to Big Ten water polo, as U of M romped its way to a 19-1 victory behind strong contributions from the entire team. The defense gave up very few shots and the offense kept finding sinking them into the back of the cage. Needless to say, it was one impressive HalloWIN.
The second of two round robin games came against one of the ranked opponents in the form of the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday, November 1. Remembering the epic quadruple overtime Wolverine victory earlier in the season at Iowa Invitational, both teams were ready to fight to the finish in this match. Coming out strong early, the Maize and Blue took an early commanding lead over the Boilers and never looked back en route to an impressive 10-4 victory. More importantly, though, the decisive victory over the strong Purdue team vaulted the Wolverines into the Big Ten semifinals.
On Sunday, November 2, Michigan would play a morning game against the host Indiana Hoosiers that would determine if their afternoon game that day would be for first or third place. With both teams lined up and ready to go before the start of the game, it was clear that no one would be running away with anything. As Matt Woelfel won the opening sprint, the game started out with a slight edge for the Michigan men. Throughout the course of the game, U of M never let up the defensive pressure on Indiana, continually denying them good scoring opportunities. On the offensive end, Michigan constantly found themselves in good scoring situations, but struggled to capitalize on a good number of them, a credit to Indian’s strong will to win. However, the Michigan attack proved to be too much for the Hoosiers as Michigan’s depth and team speed dragged down the tournament’s hosts. A visibly tired Indiana team could never overcome the Wolverines as Michigan was able to run the clock out at the end of the fourth quarter leaving the final score at Michigan: 4 Indiana: 3. The impressive victory elated the Michigan bench and fans, but the team couldn’t let it get to their heads as a more daunting opponent would be waiting for them later that day.
As the nation’s top-ranked team, the Michigan State Spartans have been dominating Big Ten water polo for the past two years and, in turn, have developed a certain swagger that has not exactly endeared them to their opponents. As their fiercest rival, it has been a goal of Michigan’s to knock the State off of their self-proclaimed pedestal, making the 2008 Big Ten Championship game a highly-anticipated contest.
With both teams eager to show the other up, the game started out with brutal intensity. The Spartans drew first blood and, midway through the first quarter, appeared to be in command of the match. At the end of the first quarter, MSU boasted a three goal lead over U of M. However, Michigan countered State with a very impressive, dominant second quarter, closing the gap to only one. At halftime, the score was only 5-4 State. All of a sudden, the #1 Spartans were in danger of getting knocked off by the underdog Wolverines and everyone in the building could sense it.
However, good teams are good for a reason, and Michigan State took over in the third quarter behind a relentless offensive attack. While the Wolverines played hard, they were not able to surmount the Spartans and MSU led by a score of 10-4 late in the fourth quarter. Michigan was able to scrap a few more late offensive attacks, but in the end, it wasn’t enough and U of M dropped the championship game to State, 10-5. However, in the process, it appeared as though Michigan finally garnered the respect they have been seeking all season long. After the game, the MSU head coach was overheard saying that, at halftime, for the first time all year, he was concerned that his team might not win the Big Ten championship. As Michigan would be headed back to Ann Arbor to start the offseason early, Michigan State would be headed for Athens, OH for Nationals, but not before finally respecting the Michigan Wolverines.
On their way to becoming the 2008 Big Ten runner-ups, the Wolverines were led by some outstanding play by three individuals in particular. Being named to the All-Big Ten second team for the second year in a row was departing goalie Brad Hoff. Another 2007 second team selection, Ryan Pryor was named to the All-Big Ten first team along with newcomer Steve Weinberg. However, it took the entire team to get to where Michigan water polo is today, with contributions coming from a number of different players.
As the Michigan men’s water polo players packed themselves back into Van Awesome, Van Gogh, Van Old, and Van Steve Richards’ car, it was clear that there is some unfinished business for the team. All there is to say now is, next year, look out Spartans.
Summer practice in Ann arbor
There is a water polo opportunity for people in the Ann Arbor area. There will be scrimmages every Monday and Wednesday night at EMU's Natatorium from 8-10pm until August 10th. The fee is nominal: it only costs $5 per session or $50 for the entire summer. This is a great chance to get some extra practice if you are in the area for the summer.
In addition, Great Lakes water polo will be holding practice at Ann Arbor Pioneer. These practices are Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 7:00PM. There is a small fee; however the experience will make it worth your while.
Coach Drew and John will be holding swim practices in the mornings at Walnut Creek. These practices are Tuesday through Saturday 6:30 to 9:00AM. For more information about this opportunity email Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org
Official practices are tentatively set to begin August 20th. If you would like to attend pre-season but your move-in date is after August 20th, please email Joe at email@example.com.
Blue Ends Up Second At States
Water Polo Wants Big Ten and You
By Michael Eisenstein, for the Daily
Locker room chatter is solely about it.
A coach's countdown leads up to it.
National club championship hopes rely on it.
the Michigan Men's club water polo team, winning a Big Ten championship
is the only way the Wolverines can enter the National Club
championships - the team's benchmark for success in recent years.
By Eileen Hengel, For the Michigan Daily
Men's Water polo swims under the radar
Champions! water polo takes national title
Michigan Club Polo Has One Elusive Goal
Playing water polo is a tough sport that requires mental toughness, endurance and skill. In addition, it can be a sport where participants receive injuries to the face and mouth. If you have had injuries to your face as a result of playing water polo, consider a vacation down to Florida to see a ft lauderdale cosmetic dentist in order to allow their team to give you a full list of services and get better teeth and a brighter smile today!
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