No. 16 Indiana women’s water polo lost its final home game against No. 13 Michigan on Saturday. The Hoosiers had the opportunity to extend the game into overtime, but they were unable to score on their final possession. Indiana finishes with a 9-2 record at home after the loss.
Before the game, Indiana honored its four seniors at their final home game. The seniors accepted flowers from the team as head coach Taylor McInerney spoke briefly about each senior. The pre-game celebration was met with loud cheers from the crowd.
“Their commitment to grow the program really stands out to me,” McInerney said after the game. “Their freshman year was my first year as head coach, so we have grown a lot together, and they just really bought into all the changes I wanted to make.”
Indiana started the game against Michigan with a high-scoring first quarter. The Hoosiers scored 5 points in the first eight minutes with sophomore center Sophia Sollie and senior utility Zoe Crouch netting two goals each. Indiana ended the first period with a 5-3 lead.
With two Michigan goals in the second period and a scoreless quarter for Indiana, the game was tied 5-5 by halftime. Michigan made the first move in the third quarter with back-to-back goals by graduate center Erin Neustrom and junior attacker Kata Utassy. With five minutes and 57 seconds left in the third quarter, the Wolverines led 7-5.
Late in the third period, Crouch took advantage of a 6-on-5 opportunity and the ball hit the post and fell into the goal. The Hoosiers trailed the Wolverines 7-6 with three minutes left to play. Michigan scored one more point in the third period and entered the final quarter with an 8-6 lead.
Indiana trailed by 3 points for the majority of the fourth quarter, but with two minutes and 53 seconds left on the clock, Sollie scored back-to-back goals for the Hoosiers. With a minute left in the game, Indiana was down 9-8 with possession of the ball. Before Indiana ran its final play, McInerney called a timeout.
“I talked about one more stop and then putting up a good shot on the cage, but we did not put up that good of a shot at the end,” McInerney said.
The Hoosiers were unable to score the necessary point to extend the game to overtime and lost the match 9-8. Indiana will travel to San Jose, California, next weekend to face San Jose State University at 4 p.m. on April 15 at the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center.
Follow reporter Marnie Sara (.@marniesara5) for updates throughout the rest of the Indiana water polo season.