In most cases, a 2-7 record would elicit questions and causes for concern. For example, why is the team struggling out of the gate? In the case of the IU water polo team, such questions are unnecessary.
The Hoosiers will take their battle-tested record out west to Santa Clara, Calif., this weekend where they will take on Pacific, Cal State-Monterey Bay and Santa Clara.
While there is no official strength of schedule rating for water polo, IU’s would rank among the best in the nation.
After nine games, the Hoosiers have played five of the top six teams in the nation. IU coach Barry King said there are positive aspects of playing such a difficult schedule.
“To be the best, you have to beat the best,” King said. “From a physical and tactical point of view, those are really important contests for us because they’re really talented groups and they have a tendency to expose the areas we need to work on. We clearly showed that we could play physically with those groups.”
Senior center Kate Dunn said playing the difficult non-conference schedule will benefit the Hoosiers come postseason.
“It’s good to go out there in California and play all the top teams to get the experience,” Dunn said. “When we come back during conference tournament time, we have that experience and can use it to beat the teams in our conference and make it to the NCAAs.”
— Micah McVicker