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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports water polo

IU water polo to kick off season in Michigan

Last year, the IU water polo team set a school record with 28 wins in a season. The 2013 Hoosier squad will attempt to improve that mark beginning this weekend, as the team will play in the Michigan Kick-Off in Ann Arbor, Mich.

IU will face four teams in two days beginning 10:30 a.m. Saturday with a match against San Jose State, followed by Colorado State at 4 p.m. They will face San Diego State at 9:10 a.m. Sunday, and the final game of the tournament will be against University of California, Los Angeles at 2:45 p.m.

IU Coach Barry King said he thinks his players are ready to battle someone other than themselves in practice.

“I think we’re tired of looking at each other,” he said. “It’s time to go play somebody else and see what the work has gotten us. That first weekend is a tough test, considering the people that we’re playing.”

The “tough test” features three teams ranked in the top nine of the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s preseason rankings. San Jose State is ranked No. 9, and San Diego State is No. 7.

UCLA, meanwhile, boasts a No. 3 preseason ranking and seven national championships since 2001, five of which were consecutive from 2005-09.

Attacker and lone senior Jakie Köhli said she is confident her team can stay with these top-tier clubs.

“I think they’re going to be a challenge, but I think we’re good enough to beat them,” she said. “We’re gonna go in with the hopes that we’re gonna win, and I think we can win. Absolutely.”

Despite Michigan hosting this weekend’s tournament, IU won’t get to compete against the arch-rival Wolverines. The showdown between the bitter enemies will be March 30, something Köhli is disappointed in.

“Whenever we go to Michigan, we always want to play our best to show them that we’re really good,” she said. “It kind of sucks that we aren’t playing them, because I kind of like to play them right at the beginning of the year to see where we’re at.”

Köhli, an All-American Honorable Mention in 2010 and 2011, missed the entire 2012 season due to a shoulder surgery during the preceding offseason. She said, though it hasn’t fully healed, it’s getting close at 80 percent.

In addition Köhli’s return to the Hoosiers, the team’s top seven goal-scorers from 2012 will be featured on this year’s squad.

Three of those seven are juniors, and the other four are sophomores.

Attacker Shae Fournier is highlighting the junior class, who shattered the single-season IU record for goals in 2012 with 95. The previous mark was 80, set by Köhli in 2010. Fournier’s performance earned her a selection to the All-American Third Team.

The goalkeeper position, however, is one of youth, as it only contains freshmen Jessica Gaudreault and Mary Campbell.

Campbell said she is excited to begin her collegiate water polo career.

“I’ve been working really hard, along with everyone else on the team,” she said. “I feel pretty confident about it.”

Although the team is young, Köhli said she believes it has a lot of potential.

“I’m really excited about this team,” she said. “We’re really good. We have a lot of perimeter shooters. We have a hole set coming in — freshman Candyce (Schroeder), who is really good  — so we can do a lot of stuff with her. Just honestly, our team is really good.”

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