Reigning Western Water Polo Association Player of the Week Sarah Lizotte led the Tritons for the seventh consecutive game with three goals, matching hat-tricks by Michigan's Cara Reitz and Lauren Orth. UCSD's Kirsten Bates followed with two scores while Melissa Bartow and Felicia Orozco also found the back of the net.
Lizotte handed the Tritons their only lead of the match 1:20 in, but the Wolverines recovered with three consecutive goals. Bartow and Bates countered with a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the opening period, evening the score, 3-3.
"We have a chance against anyone in the country. If we don't make little mistakes here and there," said UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. "We have to play really, really well but we can hang with them all the way through. We can score on anybody and we can play with anybody."
UCSD added another goal with a man-advantage, but Michigan would outscore the host 3-1 in the second to take a 6-4 lead into halftime. Orozco opened the scoring in the second half with UCSD's third 6-on-5 score, but Orth matched her to keep a two-goal lead heading into the final stanza.
Meagan Cobb and Orth scored in the first two minutes of the fourth, but consecutive scores within 35 seconds by Lizotte and Bates, respectively, brought the Tritons back within two, 9-7, with five and a half minutes remaining. However, Reitz scored back-to-back goals a minute later, giving the Wolverines their final 11-7 advantage.
"We have to stay focused on our task which is to win our conference championship," said Kreutzkamp. "If we can hang with Michigan, we can hang with anyone."
The loss snaps UCSD's three-match win-streak after the squad took down Santa Clara, Colorado State and Cal State San Bernardino in succession at The Bronco last weekend in Sullivan Aquatic Center. The Tritons will wrap-up their season next Friday at 3:00 p.m. at San Diego State in The Harper Cup.
Then, UCSD will head to Hayward for the WWPA Championships, Apr. 29 - May 1. The Tritons earned the conference's No. 2 seed after finishing the regular season 9-1 against WWPA opponents. They trail only No. 8 Loyola Marymount (11-0) in the WWPA standings.
"We're going to miss all three of them," said Kreutzkamp.
UCSD is 14-17 overall on the year. Michigan improves to 28-4.