IU water polo and its stingy defense will meet longtime rival No. 6 Michigan at 11 a.m. Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Hoosiers are coming off a weekend in Tempe, Arizona, where they lost two games to Mountain Pacific Sport Federation conference opponents. IU, 5-12 overall, is 0-4 in MPSF play.
As the end of the season nears, every game seems to be more and more important for IU, especially against rival opponents like Michigan.
The rivalry with Michigan dates back to Jan. 31, 1998 when the first game between the programs took place. IU and Michigan ended up tying 5-5 in the first match. Since then, Michigan has seemed to figure out IU as they hold the all-time series lead 48-21-2.
The Hoosiers last played the Wolverines in 2018 and lost 9-7 but will be looking to get their first win against them since 2015 this weekend.
If IU is going to get its offensive attack going against Michigan, it will need to find big targets in the pool like freshmen Tina Doherty, Izzy Mandema and Hannah Falls-Hand.
Doherty leads the team in shots on goal and goals scored this season. The freshman not only scores but also has vision with 10 assists to her name.
Mandema not only gets the job done on the offensive side for the Hoosiers, but she is a dominant force on the defensive side, too.
Falls-Hand will look to continue her dominance in the pool this weekend. More than half of her goals have come in March, a big reason why IU and its offensive attack has gotten more dangerous.
These three freshman seem to have been a nightmare for opponents throughout the season on both sides of the ball, and they will look to do the same against Michigan.
Freshman goalkeeper Mary Askew had an impressive performance last weekend in Arizona and will try to fluster Michigan in Ann Arbor if she gets the nod to start.
A reason why the Hoosiers have seen success in the games they have won this season has been from their defense. IU hasn’t allowed over double-digit goals in any of its wins this season. If the Hoosiers can get their offensive attack rolling and hold the Wolverines to under 10 goals, that would help put them in winning position.
The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network at 11 a.m. Saturday.
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