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Tuesday, June 25
The Indiana Daily Student

sports water polo

IU to compete in Bison Invitational

Of the nine games the No. 12 IU water polo team has played so far, seven have been against teams ranked higher than the Hoosiers.

This Saturday and Sunday, IU (3-6) will catch a break from the rough schedule as it will participate in the Bison Invitational in Lewisburg, Pa.

Beginning 10:20 a.m. Saturday, IU will face the division rival Hartwick Hawks (5-6). Then, at 4:10 p.m., IU will battle the Villanova Wildcats (0-7). At 8 a.m. Sunday, the Hoosiers will try to defeat the Wagner Seahawks (3-1) and then the No. 10 Princeton Tigers (3-1) at 12:40 p.m.

“I think we’re really excited,” sophomore attacker Colleen McNaught said. “I know a couple weekends ago, we had some really tough competition. I think this weekend, we’re back in our element a little bit more.”

IU defeated Hartwick in its most recent outing by a score of 9-6 on Feb. 3. It was the Hoosiers’ first match and victory in conference play.

Sophomore Shelby Taylor sees the importance of conference play, but that doesn’t mean she wants to beat Hartwick any more than any other opponent.

“Conference games are always important,” she said. “You have to win them for later on, but I just want to win all the games. Doesn’t really matter who.”

Villanova is the first winless team IU has faced since taking on a 0-1 Colorado State squad on Jan. 19. The Wildcats have been outscored 108-31 on the year, an average losing margin of 11.

IU Coach Barry King said his players focusing on themselves will be key to not overlooking a winless team.

“The easiest way to is to make sure we’re talking about us, the things we need to do to get better every time,” he said. “We’ll talk about fundamentals, we’ll talk about individual touches, we’ll talk about us, and that’s the way you avoid certain traps like that.”

Wagner began the season unranked and still is, but the Seahawks received votes in the most recent poll after going 1-1 against then No. 20 Brown last weekend and only falling by one goal.

King said he was surprised by Wagner’s success.

“I didn’t expect what they did this weekend,” he said. “They’re well-coached, so I imagine they’ll be organized. They’ve got a couple freshmen that seem to be productive for them. They’ll bring everything they have, and hopefully we’ll do the same.”

Princeton looks to be IU’s toughest competition of the weekend as its highest ranked opponent. Tigers goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson made CWPA history by becoming the first player ever to win Southern Division Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week after her first collegiate weekend.

McNaught said she thinks battling Johnson will be more mental than physical.

“We need to get it out of our head that the goalie is a brick wall,” she said. “Once we realize she’s not that good, she just gets up, we can shoot on her. We shoot on goalies every day. Once we get that out of our head and we just start shooting the way that we know how, we’ll be fine.”

Scoring early only to cool off has been a theme for IU thus far. The Hoosiers have outscored their opponents 20-16 in the first quarter, but trail in periods two through four by a margin of 71-45.

Taylor said she thinks her team has the ability to turn that trend around.

“I think with a lot of the really high-ranked teams we’ve played, when we’ve come out scoring so well and beating them, we’ve literally shocked ourselves into being scared and not playing that way for the rest of the game even though we have the ability to,” she said. “We’ve just got to believe we’re good.”

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