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IU water polo heads back to California



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Teammates swim out for a save Jan. 28, 2018, for the IU water polo team. IU will face the University of Southern California on Saturday in Los Angeles.  IDS file photo Buy Photos

After two weeks away from competition, the IU water polo team returns to California to play No. 1 University of Southern California and No. 6 University of California, Irvine. 

The Hoosiers haven’t been able to find the win column since their season opener on Jan. 19.

Before the Hoosiers get to play a few matches at home in March for the first time this season, the team will look to finally earn a victory in couple of categories. 

IU has never beaten USC in program history or won a game in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the new conference IU joined this past year.

IU also takes on UC-Irvine, who it hasn't played since the 2015 season. The Hoosiers haven’t beaten the Anteaters since 2004. UC-Irvine currently holds a 5-3 edge in the all-time series.

IU already had a chance at USC, the defending national champions, earlier this year at the University of California, Santa Barbara Invite, but lost 11-1.

A big way the Hoosiers can earn a victory is with strong performances from freshman utility Izzy Mandema and freshman attacker Tina Doherty.

Mandema currently has seven goals through seven games this season and leads the team in defensive exclusions with 26. 

As for Doherty, she leads the team with 52 shots, 13 goals and 17 total points. She also leads the team with eight steals.

It could benefit the Hoosiers that they only have to play two games this weekend instead of four, as they did earlier this season.

IU starts its weekend at 7 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles against USC, followed by another match at 3 p.m. Sunday in Irvine, California against UC-Irvine.

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