No. 15 IU water polo will have its first weekday series of the season against the No. 2 University of California-Los Angeles on April 12-13 at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. This series will also be IU’s final matches at home for the 2021 season.
IU is coming into this matchup with a losing streak of eight and hasn’t yet won in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while 8-2 UCLA finished 1-1 in its series against Arizona State University.
Heading into these two matches there are three key factors that need to be addressed for the Hoosiers to have successful results:
UCLA’s four game stretch
UCLA recently finished its series against ASU splitting the series a match a piece, losing the first 8-6 on April 10 and winning the second in overtime 11-10 on April 11.
With little to no rest for the Bruins and the Hoosiers returning to play after a weekend off this could be an opportunity for the Hoosiers to take advantage of a team that may be gassed after a long stretch of play.
IU’s strength at home
Even though the Hoosiers have dropped the last four home games, they still have a 6-4 record when competing in the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
With a three hour time difference from Tempe, Arizona, this could allow IU to capitalize on a UCLA team who is still adjusting to the time zone while also feeling comfortable in their home pool.
The last time the Hoosiers played was on April 3-4 against No. 1 University of Southern California, when they lost 10-8 and 19-10.
In total, IU scored 18 goals during the series, the most the team has scored in a series since they faced Salem University on February 27.
IU has proven that they can play with some of the best teams in the MPSF conference and, if they can continue the offensive pressure, could find their first conference victory against a top 3 team in the nation.
The first match will start at 5 p.m. April 12 and the second will begin 11 a.m. April 13.