No. 14 Indiana water polo broke its three-game losing streak Saturday afternoon, winning a pair of games at home against No. 13 San Jose State University and Salem University.
Ahead of their second game against Salem University, the Hoosiers honored their seniors for senior day, including goalkeeper Mary Askew, attacker Tina Doherty, attacker Lauren Etnyre, utility Hannah Falls-Hand, goalkeeper Sarah Greeven and center Izzy Mandema.
“They’ve been through a conference change, they've been through a coaching change and the six of them have really stuck together through everything,” head coach Taylor Dodson said. “They’ve helped elevate this program to a different level.”
To start off an eventful Saturday, No. 13 San Jose State came into the matchup with a similar resumé to Indiana. Just like the Hoosiers, the Spartans were teetering on the 0.500 mark with an 11-11 overall record and were winless in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference, with an 0-3 record.
Spartan utility players, senior Olga Descalzi and freshman Cila David each came into Saturday’s first game with 57 points apiece, ranking them both in fifth among all players in the conference.
Strong defensive performances and missed opportunities by both Indiana and San Jose State were common in the early going. Askew excelled in net for the Hoosiers with six first-half saves, although her teammates couldn’t turn scoring opportunities into points. Descalzi put in the lone goal in the first quarter to give the Spartans the early lead.
The second quarter told a different story as the Hoosiers finally found the back of the net with goals from Mandema, sophomore attacker Sophie Wazzan and junior utility Katherine Hawkins.
Within the last minute of the first half, the Hoosiers grabbed the lead for about 23 seconds before the Spartans tied it up before the buzzer. The two teams remained tied going into the second half at 3-3.
Mandema and the Hoosiers came out firing in the third quarter. She clinched a personal hat trick with back-to-back goals in the third quarter to give Indiana a 5-3 lead in a low-scoring affair going into the fourth quarter.
Another shift between quarters didn’t hinder Mandema’s influence on offense. The star Hoosier attacker found the back of the net yet again in the fourth quarter, extending her goal total to four and the Hoosiers’ lead to three.
Related: [No. 15 Indiana water polo loses in home opener against University of California, Berkeley]
The Hoosiers held the Spartans scoreless in the second half and held onto the lead to snap their three-game losing streak. The 6-3 result also marked the Hoosiers’ first conference win of the season.
Askew had a stellar performance in net in Indiana’s first game, saving 12 of 15 total Spartan shots. Mandema has now posted hat tricks in nine games this season, scoring four goals in four of those nine games.
Indiana faced off against Salem in the second game of the doubleheader. The Tigers came into the game 12-15 overall with a 3-0 record within the conference. The Tigers were led by senior driver Annefleur Ten Bloemendal, who had a season total of 77 goals paired with 28 assists for a team-leading 105 points prior to the match.
The Hoosiers had momentum coming off their previous win and the energy surrounding their senior day festivities. They were able to feed off that momentum and started hot early, with goals by Doherty, Etnyre, Falls-Hand and Hawkins putting the Hoosiers up 5-1 heading into the second quarter.
Related: [No. 15 Indiana water polo falls short in rematch against No. 7 Michigan on Saturday]
It wasn’t until under two minutes left in the first half when the Hoosiers scored their next goal. Doherty secured the hat trick and freshman driver Grace Hathaway scored after to round out the first half for the Hoosiers, who led 8-3 going into halftime.
Junior driver Rebecca Schofield and Mandema each found the net in the third quarter to extend the Hoosiers’ lead to 10-4 going into the final quarter.
Freshman center Sophia Sollie knocked in the first goal of the fourth quarter for either team, extending the Hoosiers lead to seven goals. The Tigers responded with a couple of goals of their own shortly after.
However, the Hoosiers controlled the game with their large lead in hand the rest of the way. Mandema, Crouch and Sollie scored three goals in the final six minutes to put away the Tigers and give the Hoosiers their second win of the day with a 14-8 final score.
Throughout both games Saturday afternoon, the Hoosiers’ seniors scored a total of 12 goals along with a total of 28 saves in net between Askew and Greeven.
After a victorious Saturday in their final home matches of the season, the Hoosiers are now 12-12 overall with a 1-3 record in conference play.
Indiana jumps back into competitive play on April 9 for another doubleheader against Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, followed by a matchup with California State University, East Bay, in Hayward, California.
“We talk about peaking in April, and I think we’re gonna do that,” Dodson said.