No. 15 IU played its final home matches of the 2021 season against No. 2 University of California-Los Angeles on Monday and Tuesday.
The Hoosiers fell short in both matches in the series, losing the first match 14-8 and the second 14-10. These losses move their losing streak to 10, which is the longest in program history.
IU water polo head coach Taylor Dodson believes that this string of defeats is just a sign of bigger things to come.
“What we're proving with these close games is that we’re gonna get them,” Dodson said. “It’s just a matter of when.”
A major part of IU’s downfall this series was the lack of execution in the power play and penalty shots.
Between both games, the Hoosiers went 3-14 on power plays and converted 2-of-6 penalty shots. UCLA converted on 12-23 power plays and converted 3-of-5 penalty shots.
The high amount of exclusions was another key factor that led to IU’s defeat. IU drew 14 exclusions in the first match and 27 exclusions in the series — both are season highs for a single match and a series.
Dodson contributed some of the foul trouble to a lack in depth.
“We’re playing teams that are subbing six for six and who have 24 to 28 girls on their roster and we don’t have that,” Dodson said. “It’s something that we’ll be talking about in our one on one meetings with the athletes this week.”
Despite the losses, junior goalkeeper Mary Askew reached double digit saves with 10 in a single game for the first time this season since Feb. 20.
Offensively, three different players scored hat tricks: junior attacker Tina Doherty, sophomore attacker Lanna Debow and sophomore utility Zoe Crouch.
“We are, game and game again, proving to ourselves that we can compete with the best teams in the country,” Dodson said.
IU will have three days to prepare for its next matches against No. 16 San Jose State University.
This will be IU’s first opponent ranked outside the top 10 since Feb. 27. Dodson said she plans to do a lot of scouting going into these matchups
“The majority of their goals are coming from a handful of players so it’s going to be about reading those players tendencies,” Dodson said. “I want us to come out strong and not wait until Sunday to execute certain looks that we’re talking about at practice.”
IU’s first match against SJSU will be at 4 p.m. April 17 in San Jose, California.