No. 14 IU water polo’s first matchup in the 2021 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship will be against No. 2 Stanford at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Tempe, Arizona.
These two teams have not played each other since March 20 and 21, when Stanford beat IU twice in as many days.
IU head coach Taylor Dodson said the team has been studying a lot of film on Stanford considering the long time between matchups.
“We’re watching a lot of film from Stanford and their most recent games to see how their game has evolved,” Dodson said. “I’m excited to see how our growth is going to impact the game this time.”
When IU last played Stanford, the Cardinal scored 32 goals in two games — the most any team has scored against the Hoosiers this season in a two-game span.
A key contributor to Stanford’s offensive success is senior driver Sarah Klass, who scored 11 of those 32 goals.
Dodson acknowledged Stanford’s overall play but said it’s important to contain Klass.
“She beat us a lot one-on-one last go around in both games,” Dodson said. “If we’re able to shut her down better and force some of their other girls to try and assist, we’ll be in a good spot.”
IU has been getting great practice to combat Stanford's offense. While the Hoosiers have been in Tempe, IU has been able to scrimmage against No. 5 Arizona State University.
Dodson said she hopes to capitalize on Stanford’s tempo and aggression.
“They’ve got players who are doing a lot all the time but with that can come some chaos,” Dodson said. “They’re really aggressive and on offense they’re kind of doing I think sometimes too much, and that’s gonna be the biggest area to capitalize on.”
Like many other teams in the conference Stanford has a handful of seniors, while IU has none.
Dodson is hoping that the team can use this tournament as a learning experience and something they can build off of next season.
“You have to make a lot of mental changes when there’s not that much time in between games and time between opponents,” Dodson said.“It takes a lot of focus.”
IU will play Saturday at noon if it loses to Stanford or at 2:30 p.m. if it wins. The Hoosiers will play between noon and 5 p.m. Sunday unless they lose their first two games.