Indiana Daily Student

IU water polo looks to climb rankings in 2021

<p>The IU women&#x27;s water polo team warms up March 7, 2020, in the Counsiman-Billingsley Aquatics Center. </p>

The IU women's water polo team warms up March 7, 2020, in the Counsiman-Billingsley Aquatics Center.

Coming off a strong 2020 season, IU water polo is ready to continue the success cut short by the pandemic last season. The Hoosiers' schedule was released Tuesday.

IU will play 22 games in the regular season this season, including a six game home stretch to start the season. The Hoosiers will compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships beginning on April 30.

Related: [Read more water polo coverage here]

“The team is excited and nervous,” IU head coach Taylor Dodson said. “But nervous in a good way.”

IU’s first match will be at noon Feb. 6 at home against Salem University, followed by a 4 p.m. match against St. Francis University the same day. 

IU will also face Michigan, Arizona State and Stanford.

Last season, IU beat ranked opponents such as No. 11 Pacific, and No. 9 California - Davis and finished with a record of 13-5.

The team finished No. 15 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s poll last season. The team also earned six MPSF academic team honors and 10 Big Ten scholastic awards.

Looking toward the 2021 season, Dodson stressed the importance of the team building as a unit.

“What we’re doing today isn’t for today — it’s for three weeks from now, three months from now, for the freshman three years from now,” Dodson said.

Dodson, who is entering her second year as head coach, also had success as a player from her college days at University of California, Berkeley where she was a four-time NCAA Academic All-American and won a silver medal as co-captain of the team at the 2011 NCAA Championships.

“I think it’s one of my biggest strengths as a coach,” Dodson said. “We are very much the players' coaches.” 

IU’s water polo team stands out despite being a Midwest program competing with some of the West Coast powerhouses like University of Southern California, San Jose State and University of California, Los Angeles.

“I would say a huge advantage for us is being in a Power Five conference and being at a university that really cares for athletics,” Dodson said.

Last season, IU outscored its opponents by 114 points and stole the ball 33 more times than the team’s opponents.

“The girls are so excited. Looking for the light at the end of the tunnel that you imagine is there and now we can finally see it,” Dodson said.

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