Despite a valiant effort, IU dropped their second conference game of the year as they lost 9-7 to No. 9 Michigan on Saturday.
Senior goalkeeper Jessica Gaudreault spearheaded an inspired defensive performance with 12 saves, but Michigan used a dominant second half to put the game away.
Despite the disappointing result, IU Coach Ryan Castle said he was pleased with the effort his team exhibited, especially the seniors.
“The senior class performed like they’ve done every single day while I’ve been coaching them,” Castle said. “I was impressed with their effort. They never gave up.”
Michigan began the game with two quick goals in the first three minutes before sophomore driver Emily Powell found the net with 1:50 remaining in the quarter for IU’s first goal of the game. The Hoosiers took command in the second quarter by shutting out the Michigan attack while racking up three goals of their own. Senior defender Kelly Matthews, senior utility Sarah Young and junior defender Karrie Kozokar all scored giving IU a 4-2 lead going into halftime.
Castle emphasized the importance of IU’s defense during the second quarter as well as his team’s ability to execute.
“Really it was our defense that made them wobble a little bit,” Castle said. “We tried some different things that we’d been tinkering with, especially when Karrie posted up and was able to get a great shot.”
Michigan came back from halftime looking like a completely different team and scored three quick goals in the third quarter to take a one-goal lead. Sophomore attacker Megan Abarta came up with a swift reply to tie the game at five, but Michigan’s Caroline Anderson scored late in the quarter to give the Wolverines the lead for good.
IU battled back in the final quarter, but goals from Kozokar and Young were not enough as Michigan scored three of their own to win 9-7. Kozokar and Young led the Hoosiers with two goals apiece, while Powell, Abarta and Matthews chipped in with one each.
Although both teams found the back of the net with some regularity, Castle pointed out that defense was still the difference in the game.
“When you’ve got the explosive firepower that both of us have, we’re going to be high-scoring, but there will still be a huge emphasis on defense,” Castle said. “The Michigan defense is tough to break, and we didn’t break it often enough.”
IU will close out their regular season with five games next weekend against College Water Polo Association opponents. The Hoosiers will play Brown first on Friday followed by four games at Harvard on Saturday and Sunday.