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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports water polo

No. 15 Indiana water polo finishes 5th at MPSF Championships to end season


No. 15 Indiana water polo traveled to Los Angeles, California, to compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships this weekend. The Hoosiers fell to No. 3 University of California, Los Angeles on Friday but defeated No. 13 San Jose State on Sunday to finish in fifth place in the conference championships.

Coming into the weekend the Hoosiers finished the regular season 14-14 overall and 1-4 within the conference, earning a fifth-place conference finish to end the regular season. 

Indiana took on UCLA to start the weekend in a Friday afternoon game. UCLA had a stellar regular season, finishing 22-4 overall with a 4-2 record in conference play to place third in the MPSF standings to end the regular season. Bruin redshirt senior attacker Maddie Musselman is the heart of the team’s offense, scoring 65 goals paired with 32 assists for a total of 97 points this season. 

Musselman’s individual goalscoring mark ranks her third among all players in the MPSF conference. Right behind her in fourth comes Hoosier senior center Izzy Mandema, who has scored 62 total goals. 

Related: [Indiana water polo’s comeback falls short in loss against Arizona State to end regular season]

Friday’s meeting between Indiana and UCLA marked the second matchup against each other this season. The Bruins defeated the Hoosiers 12-6 in the Michigan Invitational back on Jan. 29. In the previous meeting, the teams were tied at halftime before UCLA outscored Indiana 8-2 in the second half to pull away with the victory.

Both teams traded goals to open Friday’s game. Musselman posted a hat trick before the second quarter began, and despite the high scoring numbers from UCLA’s star attacker, the Hoosiers managed to get some offense production of their own early. 

After a seven-minute scoring drought by the Hoosiers, senior attacker Tina Doherty notched a hat trick of her own in the second quarter alone. A late goal gave UCLA a 7-5 lead going into halftime. 

Doherty has been in good form on offense lately, scoring 16 goals in the last six games for the Hoosiers, including a hat trick against UCLA.

The second half resembled that of the first matchup between the two teams. Indiana kept the score closewith UCLA in the first half, but the Hoosiers fell flat in the second half and were outscored 9-1 in that span. Junior attacker Lanna Debow scored the lone goal of the second half for the Hoosiers. 

Indiana lost the first game in the conference championships to UCLA, 16-6. The loss meant Indiana would fight for a fifth-place finish against No. 13 San Jose State University on Sunday.

SJSU was the only team in the MPSF conference to not win a single conference game in the regular season, finishing with a 0-6 record in those matchups. Overall, the Spartans finished 11-15 in the regular season and matched Indiana’s first-round result in the championships with a 24-6 loss to No. 2 Stanford.

The Hoosiers and Spartans also faced off earlier in the season, with the Hoosiers taking down the Spartans 6-3 on March 26 in Bloomington.

Related: [No. 14 Indiana water polo wins two out of three during weekend in California]

Sunday’s game got off to a fast start as well, with both teams trading goals. Three unanswered goals and a second-quarter shutout by the Hoosiers gave them a 5-3 lead going into the second half. The Hoosiers spread the ball around in the first half as five different players scored.

Indiana bounced back from its second-half misfortunes in the loss to UCLA by steadily increasing its lead over SJSU. The Hoosiers matched the Spartans’ scoring totals in the third quarter before shutting them out in the fourth quarter.

The Hoosiers paved their way to an 11-5 win over SJSU to secure a fifth-place finish at the championships. Senior goalkeeper Mary Askew saved seven shots on 12 attempts for the Hoosiers, while freshman utility Portia Sasser and attacker Olivia Stark each scored a pair of goals.

Mandema and Doherty finished their Indiana water polo careers in proper fashion as both notched hat tricks in the last weekend of the team’s 2022 season. 

The Hoosiers finished the season 15-15 overall and will look toward improving in the offseason.

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