After almost two weeks without competition, the IU water polo team got back into action this weekend during the Michigan Invitational against Salem University, St. Francis University and No. 6 Michigan.
IU’s match against Michigan on Saturday was its first against a ranked opponent this season. It was also the first time the two competed against each other since March 2019.
Head coach Taylor Dodson led the Hoosiers to record-breaking performances in their opening week of play, and she said the team was feeling good heading into this weekend.
“We’re excited that we are the hunters right now,” Dodson said. “There’s definitely some added pressure, but it’s in the best way.”
This match was Michigan’s first of the season. The Wolverines began their season undefeated, defeating IU 5-8. This loss ended the IU program’s best winning streak — 14 matches dating back to the 2020 season.
IU had its rematch Sunday and fell short once again in a close 6-11 loss.
Although the outcomes weren’t ideal for the Hoosiers, Dodson said she couldn’t be more proud of this team.
“I’m so grateful for this group because they’re completely bought into what we’re doing,” Dodson said.
Many Hoosiers contributed against Michigan, with sophomore utility Katherine Hawkins coming away with five steals and junior goalkeeper Mary Askew reaching double digits in saves with a combined 14.
IU repeated its dominance against Salem University and St. Francis University with two double-digit margins of victory. These wins solidified IU’s perfect record against the squads: 7-0 against St. Francis and 8-0 against Salem University.
IU returns to Bloomington from the Michigan Invitational with a 2-2 record on the weekend, moving its record at 6-2 on the year.
IU’s next matches are against No. 3 University of California at Los Angeles and No. 2 Stanford University. Up next, IU will face UCLA at home on Feb. 27 barring any changes due to the pandemic.
Dodson isn’t afraid of the challenge and views the Hoosiers as the team to beat, she said.
“We want to be top five, and we know we can get there,” Dodson said.