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Friday, Dec. 8
The Indiana Daily Student

sports water polo

Water polo hits pool for 2014

During the course of the week the IU women’s water polo team has been a loose, fun bunch during practice.

But come Saturday the team will get serious as it knows the Hoosiers have two difficult opponents to face.

The Hoosiers will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take part in the ninth annual Michigan Kick-Off.

To start the 2014 women’s water polo season, the No. 15 Hoosiers will face the Iona Gaels. That match is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

The Gaels are returning two of their three leading scorers from last year: senior Amy Olsen, who led the team with 102 goals and 26 assists, and senior Erika Lauraitis, who accumulated 68 goals and 2 assists.

Senior goalkeeper Marisa Gaynor will return as well. She recorded a 9.98 goals-against average and .495 save percentage last year.

“Iona is going to be a feisty group that will keep coming at us and test us in terms of defensive organization,”IU Coach Barry King said.

After the Hoosiers play the Gaels, Iona will face the No. 13 Michigan Wolverines at 12:30 p.m.

Later in the day will be a clash of Big Ten programs as the Hoosiers will battle the Wolverines.

This will be the first of three matches that the two teams will play against each other during the 2014 season.

The Wolverines’ leading scorer from last year, Kiki Golden, graduated, so the team will be led by sophomore Presley Pender, who scored 38 goals last season.

Sophomore Bryce Beckwith also scored 38 goals, but will most likely miss all of this season with an injury.

There will be a new goalkeeper since four-year starter Alex Adamson graduated. The Wolverines have a choice of three goalkeepers to replace her.

“Michigan will be more of an emotional contest because of the rivalry,” King said. “It’s always been a contest that’s been decided by no more than two goals.”

Michigan has a record of 32-19-1 when hosting the Michigan Kick-Off. All of the Wolverines loses have come against ranked opponents, as they are 15-19 when facing ranked opponents at the tournament.

To get ready for this weekend’s matches, the team has been simulating games in practice. “We’ve been doing a lot of real life action, trying to incorporate a lot of one-on-one and six-on-six,” said sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Gaudreault.

The Hoosiers are expecting to see more success than last year’s team.

“We only lost one person from last year, and we’ve got a whole bunch of new teammates,” said utility player Shelby Taylor.

King said his team is stronger top-to-bottom than last season, which will help as the season unfolds.

“We’re much deeper in terms of our rotation,” he said. “I think we have a really solid second six. I haven’t even determined what the rotations are yet.”

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