IU water polo began its season with the Hoosier Invite Saturday with games against Salem University and St. Francis University.
“I feel like there is huge weight lifted,” head coach Taylor Dodson said Sunday. “We have, I think, a really good idea of our biggest areas of weakness to improve on from now to the rest of the season.”
By winning all its matches Feb. 6-7, IU built on its winning streak from the 2020 season. The program has now won 14 consecutive games, the longest streak in program history.
“I was kind of shocked,” Dodson said. “A lot of that 14-win streak is at home. I’m really proud of the way that the girls played at home and being able to defend our pool.”
The team’s wins also improved its undefeated records against both opposing teams: 7-0 against Salem University and 6-0 against St. Francis University.
IU’s defense held the average shot percentage for opposing teams to .207 this weekend.
Starting goalkeeper junior Mary Askew contributed to the team’s defensive presence, only allowing five goals the whole weekend. Askew also recorded her first career goal against St. Francis University on Saturday.
“Mary is a very athletic goalkeeper. She’s not just in there to block balls, but also be the quarterback of the defense,” Dodson said.
IU recorded 52 steals in its Saturday and Sunday games. Sophomore utility Katherine Hawkins led the team in steals with eight. The team saw nine players set new career bests in scoring.
Junior center Izzy Mandema led the scoring charge for IU, scoring 18 goals.
“I thought that Izzy did a really good job of dominating her position,” Dodson said. “Her job is to be in front of the cage and be a force — she did that really well.”
IU was scheduled to play Michigan on Feb. 14 at home, but the matchup was canceled due to Michigan’s Jan. 23 decision to pause athletic activities in all sports. Dodson intends on taking advantage of this new time, she said.
“We’re going to use this week as best as we can in terms of recovery but also looking ahead at Michigan,” Dodson said.“We’ll watch a lot of film from this past weekend and really break down those troublesome areas and make that our focus when we’re in the pool.”
IU is expected to next face Michigan and St. Francis University at Michigan on Feb. 20.