IU water polo began Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference play this weekend at the Avery Aquatic Center in Stanford, California, against No. 2 Stanford University.
IU lost its first conference matches of the season with scores of 6-17 in the first match and 5-15 in the second. The Hoosiers extended their losing streak to four games and dropped to 8-6 with the losses.
IU allowed its most goals against any team this season in both matches against Stanford.
The team is using this weekend as an opportunity to look toward the future, IU water polo head coach Taylor Dodson said Sunday.
“They play a different kind of water polo than we’re used to, and I think we were a little bit shocked at the start,” Dodson said. “It’s a really good kind of gut check as we head into the rest of conference play.”
The last time these teams competed was during the 2019 season, a match that was a 4-24 loss for the Hoosiers at Avery Aquatic Center in Stanford, California. IU’s record against Stanford is now 0-11.
Dodson gave praise to her team for its mentality during this rough patch in the season.
“The group is really motivated. They’re very positive,” Dodson said. “I think that the more that we can focus on those things while also fixing the negative pieces, the better we’ll get.”
Despite the big losses, the Hoosiers had some promising performances, such as goalkeeper Mary Askew with nine saves in each match and sophomore Katherine Hawkins with five steals over the weekend.
IU will face off against conference opponent Arizona State University next weekend.
Dodson said Arizona State’s players are very true to their positions and they will bring a new struggle the Hoosiers haven’t seen much of this season.
“Their position players play specific positions. They also run a bit more of a zone defense than we’re used to,” Dodson said. “It’ll be a completely different look than what we’ve seen this season.”
With the new challenge, the Hoosiers are still looking for their first conference victory of the season.
Dodson said a big part of their game plan this week in practice will be watching a lot of film and feeling like they know Arizona State better than they know themselves.
IU will face Arizona State University at 3 p.m. March 27 at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe, Arizona, then again at noon the following day.