Bears Topple #17 Michigan, 9-8, on Last-Minute Goal

March 19, 2007

Ann Arbor, MI - At the Wolverine Invitational on Saturday, the Brown women's water polo team (8-3) picked up its first win over Indiana since Head Coach Jason Gall took over the team in 2005. The Bears followed that up with a nice encore on Sunday, toppling the tournament's host, #17 Michigan, 9-8, in an exciting contest that came down to the final 10 seconds. The win put a positive spin on a day that began poorly, as Brown lost to Cal Baptist, 6-5, to start the day.

Gall described the Michigan game as a very intense, physical game, crediting the Bears' defense for outstanding play. Freshman Stephanie Laing (Ann Arbor, MI) had her second double-digit save total of the day and third of the weekend, tallying 11 against her hometown school. Senior two-meter defender Caitlin Fahey (Bellevue, WA) and junior Ally Wyatt (Ypsilanti, MI) were also strong on the defensive end.

The Wolverines got the scoring started at 7:01, but the Bears answered right back. Senior two-meter offense Elizabeth Balassone (Los Altos, CA) drew an ejection, and senior Paige Lansing (Newport Beach, CA) converted on the ensuing power play at 5:45 to tie it up. Freshman Lauren Presant (Poway, CA) then drew a five-meter penalty shot at 3:28, which fellow first-year Sarah Glick (Bonita, CA) put away to give Brown the lead. However, Michigan got a goal from two meters to tie it back up heading into the first break. Balassone scored on a lob from two meters 17 seconds into the second quarter, but Michigan got two more to go into halftime up 4-3.

Michigan began the second half by scoring again just 16 seconds in for a 5-3 lead. Again, the Bears came right back. Sophomore Rory Stanton (Danville, CA) drew an ejection that led to Fahey's first goal at 4:48. Just over a minute later, Wyatt drew an ejection, and after a Brown timeout, Presant tied the game at five with 3:25 to go in the quarter. Michigan got the lead back at 1:26, making it 6-5 entering the fourth quarter.

At 7:17, Fahey drew an ejection, and once again, the Bears converted, with senior Claire Angyal (Mosman, Australia) scoring on the power play. After a UM goal, Lansing and Fahey scored to put Brown up 8-7. Michigan tied the game on a two-on-one with 1:15 remaining, but 30 seconds later, Balassone got her team the lead for good with a sweep shot from two meters out. The Wolverines got a pair of chances to tie the game, but one shot hit the crossbar and the other was deflected away by Laing to preserve the win.

Balassone and Presant led the team with two steals apiece, while Presant also drew two ejections.

The morning began on a sour note, as the team dropped a winnable game to Cal Baptist. After Balassone got the Bears on top with the lone goal of the first quarter, the Lancers scored twice in the second quarter to take the lead, forcing Brown to play catch-up the rest of the game. Fahey and junior Alexis Blaxberg (Pinecrest, FL) each scored in the second quarter to tie the game. CBU got two in the third to enter the final quarter with a lead, but the Bears again tied the game thanks to a steal and counterattack goal by Wyatt and penalty shot goal by Glick. However, the Lancers scored with 1:22 remaining to take a 6-5 lead and the win.

Wyatt led the Bears with four steals and two ejections drawn, while Laing blocked 10 shots. Fahey added two steals.

With momentum after two big wins over Indiana and Michigan, the Bears will head out to California next weekend for a slew of games over Spring Break. Many of those eight contests will be against ranked opponents, with #7 San Diego State, #20 Cal State-Bakersfield, #15 Long Beach State, #5 UC-Irvine, and #15 UC-San Diego all on the schedule. Brown will also get a rematch with Cal Baptist during the trip, as well as some practice time in the sunny weather of California's outdoor facilities.