The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JUNE/JULY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 59 BY AUSTIN FOX O n April 29, water polo head coach Dr. Marcelo Leonardi led Michigan to its third consecu- tive Collegiate Water Polo Associa- tion (CWPA) title — in just his fourth year at the helm. The Wolverines completed the trifecta by defeating Princeton 11-8 in Lewisburg, Pa., a feat that Leonardi admitted was very difficult to accomplish. "When we won that first confer- ence title here, it was so new and ex- hilarating for us," he recalled. "But you have to keep that hunger going, and I think we did that. This year's championship was truly a blessing. "We were a team of very few words, but our actions really spoke loudly in that title game. We held an 8-2 lead at one point, but I continued to be amazed at the level of execution our team played with. At that mo- ment, I knew we were going to win the title." Leonardi admitted there was a little extra motivation for his club to face the Tigers a second time, after they handed U-M one of its only eight reg- ular-season losses April 8 with an 8-7 sudden death, overtime thriller. The Michigan head man revealed two players in particular impressed him in the way they helped get the team ready for the rematch. "[Senior attacker] Caroline Ander- son was our emotional leader," Leon- ardi said. "She was also one of our captains, and backed it up by leading us in total points and assists. Caro- line just showed up in the biggest moments for us and really saved her best water polo for the end. "[Junior attacker] Julia Sellers also stepped up for us in that champion- ship game. She's gotten better each year she's been here, and it showed this season when she earned first- team all-conference and tournament MVP honors. She really turned a lot of heads with her play. "Julia and Caroline — and every- body else — were so vital in our run to the league title this year." Anderson set single-season school records with 85 assists and 131 points, while Sellers was joined on the All-CWPA first team by sopho- more utility player Maddy Steere. This season marked the 14th s t r a i g h t y e a r t h a t M i c h i g a n reached at least the conference semifinals, while the title made for the program's eighth in its 18 years of existence. However, the season came to an end with a 13-6 loss to No. 3 Cali- fornia in the NCAA quarterfinals May 11. The 32-9 (7-1 CWPA) Wol- verines finished the campaign at No. 9 in the final USA Water Polo national collegiate rankings. BASEBALL STRINGS TOGETHER HISTORIC WINNING STREAK When Michigan took the field for a contest at Bowling Green March 16, it held a 4-11 record, had dropped 10 of its previous 12 games and was com- ing off a discouraging home loss to Lawrence Tech, an NAIA Division II program. The Wolverines defeated the Fal- cons 8-6 that night, which — unbe- knownst at the time — marked the first of 20 straight wins. The Maize and Blue did not drop another con- test until April 27 at Iowa, sweeping six consecutive series in the process, including four in Big Ten play over Michigan State, Northwestern, Mary- land and Penn State, respectively. The Wolverines absolutely domi- nated their competition during the streak, outscoring opponents by an incredible 168-63 margin, with 14 of the 20 victories coming by three runs or more.   OLYMPIC SPORTS UPDATE Water Polo Claims Third Straight CWPA Crown The second-seeded Wolverines captured the Collegiate Water Polo Association championship with an 11-8 win over No. 1 seed Princeton April 29. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY Freshman outfielder Jordan Nwogu (No. 42) hit a solo home run in Michigan's 14-2 win over Penn State April 22, which marked the team's 20th victory in a row. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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