On the heels of losing a heartbreaker to Harvard in the first round of the Collegiate Water Polo Association Tournament and bouncing back with two wins in a row, IU had a chance to end the season on a high note in the fifth-place game Sunday.
IU shut Bucknell down in the first half and led 9-4 going into the break. Juniors Jennifer Beadle and Kelly Matthews both scored hat tricks for the Hoosiers in the first two quarters, and solid goalkeeping by freshman Davis Simmons established an IU lead that would never be relinquished.
IU Coach Ryan Castle said Simmons was huge for his team this weekend, and he said he was very impressed with the way she’s been playing on such short notice. Usual goalkeeper, junior Jessica Gaudreault, missed the weekend with an injury.
“It was tough for Davis to come out and start against quality teams on short notice, but she’s got a great attitude and stepped up for us this weekend.”
Castle said he was very impressed with Beadle’s and Matthews’ performances, and he said the two of them brought a lot of energy to the game.
“Jennie has progressed so much this season, and Kelly has been so consistent for us,” Castle said. “Jennie came out today and got the job done and she brought so much energy with her.”
There was no shortage of offense in the second half. The two teams combined for ten goals in the second half, and IU created a comfortable lead for itself going into the final quarter of play with fifth place on the line.
Junior attacker Sarah Myers was a force to be reckoned with defensively in the first half, but her offensive performance in the second half sparked a Hoosier run. The freshman duo of Mollie Williams and Joelle Nacouzi each scored a goal each in the contest.
IU fought off a late Bucknell run to win the game 14-9 and place fifth in the CWPA tournament.
Castle said he was happy with the way his team responded to their loss against Harvard by winning the remaining three games of the tournament. He credited the leadership of Matthews, Williams and senior Bronwyn Smith.
“It was difficult to come out in a morning game, but Kelly, Mollie and Bronwyn kept our team focused today in order to get a good win,” Castle said.
With Smith being the lone graduate and junior Emily Lowe retiring to focus on academics, the Hoosiers aren’t losing many of their core players until the end of next season. Castle said the team will miss Smith and Lowe, but added it was good for younger players to gain experience this weekend and be prepared for years ahead.
Castle was happy with the way his team ended the tournament.
“We fought through some adversity this weekend, especially against George Washington and Bucknell,” Castle said.
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