No. 15 Indiana water polo sought revenge against No. 7 Michigan after losing to the Wolverines on Feb. 25. The rematch between the evenly matched opponents, who were separated by just two goals in the first meeting, came Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Hoosiers looked to bounce back after suffering a defeat to another top-10 team, No. 3 University of Southern California, on March 12. The loss put the Hoosiers at 10-10 overall before their matchup with the Wolverines.
The Wolverines came into Saturday’s game 13-7 this season and went 5-2 since the win against the Hoosiers. Michigan is led by graduate student attacker Maddie O’Reilly, who leads her team with 75 total season points, good for eighth most in the country among all players on teams in the NCAA Collegiate Women's Water Polo Association.
It took no time for the Wolverines to jump on top in the second meeting, as O’Reilly put her team ahead 1-0 just 25 seconds after the opening whistle. Mandema knocked in the equalizer for the Hoosiers before Wolverines senior attacker Ava Morrant regained the lead for Michigan later in the first quarter.
The back-and-forth match continued as Hoosiers junior attacker Lanna Debow tied the game at 2-2 with just over three minutes to go in the first quarter. Sophomore center Elise Walker scored the final goal of the first quarter, putting Michigan up 3-2 going into the second quarter.
Michigan senior attacker Kayla Barone took advantage of a power play to start the second quarter with a goal to increase the Wolverines’ lead. However, Indiana freshman driver Grace Hathaway wasted no time to answer with a goal of her own just 20 seconds later.
For the rest of the first half, the Hoosiers continued to respond swiftly following each Wolverine goal. Indiana junior utility Zoe Crouch answered the Michigan goal before O’Reilly hit the back of the net for her second goal.
The last time the two teams met they were tied 3-3 going into the second half. This time around, Michigan went into the break with a 7-4 lead.
The Hoosiers needed a fast start heading into the third quarter to get their comeback. Crouch started the second half with a quick goal and freshman attacker Skylar Kidd cut the Hoosiers’ deficit to one goal after a Michigan turnover.
The Wolverines found a way to answer again, as O’Reilly notched her third goal of the match for a hat-trick to make it 8-6 in favor of Michigan.
Indiana freshman attacker Olivia Stark scored a crucial goal to cut Michigan’s lead to 8-7, but the Wolverines once again distanced themselves to close the third quarter out. Two more Wolverine goals meant the Hoosiers trailed 10-7 entering the fourth quarter.
Indiana dug deep in the final frame, scoring a trio of goals in the first three minutes to tie the game at 10-10. The Hoosiers’ hopes of knotting the season series at 1-1 against their Big Ten foe fell short, as the Wolverines quickly answered with what was eventually the game winner.
The 11-10 loss to Michigan puts Indiana at 10-11 overall this season. The Hoosiers will take on No. 4 University of California, Berkeley, on Monday in Bloomington.