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IU returns to California for Santa Clara Invitational



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Jessica Castellano of California Baptist University defends the ball from IU junior Jennifer Beadle at Councilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in February of 2017. IU will be heading to the Bay Area this weekend as the Hoosiers get set to play in the Santa Clara Invitational.  Matt Rasnic Buy Photos

Whenever IU makes the journey to California, it’s usually a homecoming for a couple members of the team. This time, it’s senior center Jennifer Beadle's turn.

IU will be heading to the Bay Area this weekend as the Hoosiers get set to play in the Santa Clara Invitational. Beadle, who is from nearby Pleasanton, California, said it has always been a fun experience getting to play so close to home.

“I love going home and I love the Bay Area,” Beadle said. “We’re able to have a dinner at my house on Friday night and the whole team comes over, so it’s really fun to incorporate that into the weekend.”

Beadle wasn’t the only person looking forward to heading home, as IU coach Ryan Castle joked about getting to play in front of a supportive crowd.

“We’re a very Nor-Cal heavy team,” Castle said. “Jenny Beadle in particular has, I think, close to 500 relatives, and we’re going to have a lot of people supporting us.”

IU is ranked No. 16 in the country according to the CWPA and holds a record of 8-3 going into this weekend’s tournament, and is coming off an eleventh-place finish in the Triton Invitational two weeks ago. IU went 2-2 in the tournament, picking up wins against Iona and No. 11 Long Beach State and losing to No. 15 UC San Diego and No. 19 Loyola Marymount.

After getting a week off in between tournaments, some teams may struggle with getting sharp and ready to play after a longer layoff. However, Castle said that his team could use it to their advantage, and believed that it could give IU a boost as they prepare for more tough competition.

“It was great because we had to travel, and being from the Midwest we have to take a redeye back, so it takes us a couple days to readjust,” Castle said. “Having that weekend off was great for us to focus on ourselves and get physically and mentally ready to play some high-level competition.”

For IU’s first game of the tournament, they will take on Sonoma State. The Seawolves are 0-5, with losses to No. 2 USC and No. 13 UC Santa Barbara on their résumé. IU and Sonoma State have a couple common opponents, as both teams have faced UC Santa Barbara and Iona. IU is 3-0 in those games, while Sonoma State is 0-2.

The featured game of the weekend will come Saturday night, when IU will take on tenth-ranked UC Davis. The Aggies currently hold a record of 10-6 and have played a similar schedule to IU. Both teams have fallen to No. 6 Arizona State and UC Davis knocked off UC San Diego, a team that is 1-1 against IU this season. Coach Castle emphasized the tough task ahead of his team when talking about UC Davis.

“They’ve got a few really good former national team players that are pretty strong, and they have a really deep bench,” Castle said.

IU will close the weekend with two games on Sunday, with the first against host school Santa Clara at 12:20 p.m., and the second against CSU Monterrey Bay, coached by former Hoosier Emily Schmit, at 5:30 p.m. 

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