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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports water polo

Freshmen play key role amongst seniors

women's water polo

Given the cumulative experience of the IU water polo team, one might think that it is a win-now team.

The 2011 team returned six starters. Four of the team’s seven seniors have combined for 394 goals and 290 starts as Hoosiers entering the season.

Still, each of the three freshmen have played a significant role this season. Freshmen attackers Shae Fournier and Meghan Lappan, plus freshman defender Amanda Redfern, have each carved out a niche on this year’s team and earned the respect of the senior class.

“In the pool, Amanda is a really smart player,” senior attacker Nicole Redder said.
“She knows the game. She can help everyone know what to do with the ball. She’s also been converting a lot of goals for us.”

Redfern has chipped in 17 goals and 11 assists this season. She deflected credit to her teammates for her success on the offensive end.

“Our team overall has made me successful offensively, being able to move and drive and get people open,” she said. “I was lucky enough to be one of those open people. I’ve been way more aggressive than I used to be in wanting to get the shots because shooting feels good and you feel good when it happens.”

IU coach Barry King said Redfern was a pleasant surprise.

“We knew that she had a nice skill set coming in, she’d been taught well previously,” King said. “What we didn’t realize was that she has a very steady personality. When you’re a center defender, you can’t play emotionally. You have to play hard, but you have to keep your emotions in check. She’s done a good job.”

Fournier also came in and made a splash offensively for IU. The Manitoba, Canada, native racked up 51 goals and 35 assists during the regular season.

King said he has been looking for Shae to be aggressive scoring the ball.

“That was something we’d been asking her to do and get her head wrapped around since January,” King said. “The more she gets comfortable being the person with the ball, the better it is for us. We’re starting to see the fruits of her labor a little bit more. She’s become more comfortable as the person that needs to terminate possessions (with goals).”

Arguably her best game came against Michigan on March 26, senior attacker Kelsey Campbell said.

“She really stepped up, especially when we were down,” Campbell said after the game against the Wolverines. “She had those two goals back-to-back. That was big to get our team motivated and back into it. She stepped up when we needed her and filled that shooter’s role.”

Fournier said she has grown more comfortable being aggressive on offense.

“At the beginning, it was a lot harder to be shooting as often, to know when it was my place to shoot, playing with new people, new coaches, new style,” she said. “Now I’m more comfortable with the style and the team. So it’s easier for me to execute.”

Fournier said the seniors have supported her as she has learned.

“They’re really good with supporting (me) even if (I) take shots when I’m not supposed to,” she said. “I never get in trouble for taking any shot I want. You know they’re behind you. It’s easy to shoot when you know that you have a team behind you.”

Lappan has started 29 games and asserted herself in the distributor’s role, posting 31 assists to go along with 13 goals.

King said Lappan was polished before she got to IU, which has helped smooth her transition process.

“Meghan was taught the fundamentals of body position and balance before she arrived,” King said. “Those skills are essential in making good passes and defending. Once she got used to the speed of the game and the strength of opposing players on the college level, she put her fundamental skills to great use shutting opponents down and setting her teammates up for offensive opportunities.”

While the freshman core have racked up their share of accolades this season, their ultimate goal has yet to be achieved.

Redfern said the three freshmen have talked about earning an NCAA Tournament berth and doing everything they can do to send the seniors out on a high note.

“Hopefully we make it because we want to help them and we want to make it to NCAAs,” Redfern said. “That’s our main goal, and that’s what everybody wants here.”

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