No. 13 IU water polo faced off against No. 4 University of California, Berkeley this weekend, concluding IU’s 2020-21 regular season.
The Hoosiers lost both matches, finishing 12-10 in the first Saturday and 13-3 in the second Sunday.
The Hoosiers finished the regular season with a 9-15 record and a 1-11 record in conference play.
IU water polo head coach Taylor Dodson said she believes this season was a great time to improve as a team for the future.
“The word that comes to mind, and that we’ve been talking about, is build,” Dodson said. “I also believe that we are overachieving even though the wins and losses might not show it. We’re challenging teams, and that’s the most important thing.”
One factor contributing to the Hoosiers’ downfall over the weekend was power play inefficiency. In the first match especially, IU was unable to find any success as it went 1-9 on power play completion.
In total, the Hoosiers converted four of 20 power plays over the series, their lowest percentage since the Arizona State series on March 27 and 28.
Dodson highlighted the fact that the team still converted on some of these power plays in a different way.
“From our power plays we earned penalty shots and converted both of them in the first game,” Dodson said. “In my head that’s a conversion, on our stat sheet that is.”
Offense was another point in the series that did not go the team’s way. In the second match, the Hoosiers were unable to score for two consecutive quarters.
“The piece on offense that was hurting us was our ball movement. The ball was, what we would say, on the water a lot. We were not making many dry passes,” Dodson said. “If our passing is better and we protect the ball better, then all of those looks get a little bit easier to execute.”
Dodson still pointed out performances from junior goalkeeper Mary Askew and junior center Izzy Mandema.
Askew tied her career-best in saves in the first match with 13 and recorded 24 saves in the series, the most she’s had over a two-game stretch all season.
Dodson also praised Mandema’s fight and toughness after scoring three goals and grabbing a steal in the series.
“She battled every possession all two games,” Dodson said.
IU’s next competition is set for April 30 when Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship play begins. The Hoosiers’ first opponent in the tournament is still to be determined.
Dodson noted two pieces of the game she would like to improve before then: offensive flow and individual defense.
“We need to shut our opponents down when we’re one-on-one,” Dodson said. “Every team has big playmakers in our conference, and we need to shut down those players one on one.”