Water polo gearing up for playoffs

Submitted by South Bend Wolverine on April 17th, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Since dropping a pair of games on February 13th, Michigan's water polo team has been absolutely unstoppable, racking up an astounding 20 straight wins, including 5 against ranked opponents.  Now ranked #6 in the nation, the team gets a bit of a break before heading off to the CWPA Eastern playoffs which run from April 29 through May 1, where they will seek their 4th straight Eastern title.

After that, NCAA playoffs will provide the final test of the season for the Wolverines, who should be making their 6th appearance and seeking their first title.  Michigan's water polo program, though younger than the softball one, is in some ways analogous to it.  The power in the sport is heavily concentrated out West, primarily in California.  A quick scan of the current rankings reveals something like 15 of the top 20 teams in the nation located in Cali.  The Wolverines' success of the years has been achieved against substantial regional odds.  Now it is time to make that parallel with softball one bit better and start adding some titles!


Hard Gay

April 17th, 2011 at 7:55 PM ^

A good friend of mine is on the water polo team.  That sport is surprisingly violent.  It seems that the two objectives of the game are 1: put the ball in the net.  2: drown the other team.  It is a very fun sport to watch.


April 17th, 2011 at 9:26 PM ^

I know one of the guys on State's men's water polo team that won an NC a few years back.  He told me some stories about punching people underwater and the like.  Basically, as long as the ref doesn't catch it, it's legal.

Michigan Manders

April 17th, 2011 at 9:27 PM ^

I play water polo, and it is indeed very rough. One teammate of mine got cracked ribs in one game due to a player on the other team intentionally beating him up because he was good. Other times I've been kicked or punched where it hurts simply because a player I'm guarding gets frustrated when he can't do anything; one player even gave me a black eye.

That said, not all teams play dirty. Many are taught to play the right way and are good enough to not need to play dirty to win. The story may be (and probably is) different in college.


And on a completely unrelated note because I feel like bragging, my team is currently ranked third (maybe second in next week's poll) in our state with only a single senior getting playing time on varsity. And he pretty much sucks anyway.


April 17th, 2011 at 9:13 PM ^

In addition to the Varsity team's success, the Women's Club Water Polo Team won the Big Ten Championship today (11-5 over Illinois).  The victory gives them a bid to the National Collegiate Club Championships where they will be the 2-seed (16-team tournament).

They were National Runners-Up last year and are currently 24-0, ranked #2 in the nation, winning by an average margin of 11-4.  Good luck to them at Nationals (in 3 weeks)


April 17th, 2011 at 9:25 PM ^

When Michigan added a women's sport in 2000 to complement adding Men's soccer, why did they choose water polo?  As the OP said, it is largely concentrated in California, and there is no Big Ten conference to compete in.  Seems like an odd sport to go varsity, though I'm sure they were the most ready to move up of the club sports at the time.

Sgt. Wolverine

April 17th, 2011 at 10:36 PM ^

water polo in Michigan isn't under the MHSAA, so it could be better run.  Based on my very limited experience with the sport (as a newspaper photographer), and based on the perspectives of the coaches at my local high school, the sport would be much better off at the high school level in Michigan if it were to be taken over by the MHSAA.