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Sunday, Dec. 3
The Indiana Daily Student

sports water polo

Hoosiers to take on No. 1 Stanford in NCAAs


IU Coach Barry King called IU’s opening round of the NCAA women’s water polo tournament against top-seeded Stanford, “the quintessential ‘We’ve got nothing to lose’” situation.

Senior attacker Shae Fournier reiterated her coach’s statement, but with only three wins separating IU from a national championship, the Hoosiers are going into the tournament knowing anything can happen on collegiate water polo’s biggest stage.

“We’re not necessarily going in with expectations,” Fournier said. “‘Nothing to lose’ is a good mentality because we can go in there and play our best and do what we need to do. We’ll be happy with anything, but obviously we’re still going to play to win.”

Stanford (22-1) enters the first-round matchup 6:30 p.m. in Los Angeles against IU (23-5) as the No. 1 team in the country.

The team’s single loss of the season was Feb. 22 against UCLA. Since then, the Cardinals have had a 13-game winning streak, outscoring opponents by 7.8 goals per game.

IU most recently played a top-ranked team March 21 against then-No. 1 USC. The Trojans defeated the Hoosiers 15-5 in a game where IU managed only one goal the entire second half.

Despite the loss, Fournier said the game against USC gives her confidence her Hoosier squad can keep up with the best teams in the nation.

“We know we stuck in there at the half with USC before,” Fournier said. “We’ve played good games, and it’s not that we’re incapable of doing it.”

Fournier will be responsible for leading the Hoosier offensive charge against the Cardinals. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, native is the program’s leading scorer and had three goals off of penalty shots in IU’s win against Wagner in the NCAA Tournament play-in game.

She credited her goals against Wagner to her teammates for earning the penalty shots. The Hoosiers found success against Wagner by taking advantage of penalties offensively while not giving up any power play goals on the defensive end.

For that trend to continue against Stanford, junior utility player Rebecca Gerrity said the Hoosiers will need to continue to communicate in the water.

“Just like in any sport, communication’s key,” Gerrity said. “Being able to talk to each other and take criticism, adjustments are important, and we do that well this year.”

Gerrity believes IU — who enters the tournament on a 12-game winning streak — is playing some of its best water polo this year. She called IU’s 14-7 win against Michigan in the conference tournament the best IU has played all year.

With the top-seeded Stanford scheduled next, Gerrity said he hopes the high level of play continues.

“Going in, you want to be playing your best water polo, and there’s always room to improve, but this has definitely been a highlight this past month in a half for sure,” Gerrity said. “We’re going to go out and try to play our best water polo this weekend.”

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