No. 14 Indiana Water Polo opened the regular season with an away game against No. 3 University of California, Los Angeles. After meeting against UCLA, the Hoosiers traveled to Santa Barbara, California to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara Winter Invite and ended the weekend 2-2, 0-1.
In the first matchup against UCLA, the Hoosiers managed to stay within a point behind the Bruins and trailed 3-2 in the first quarter, on goals from senior defenseman Lanna Debow and senior utility Zoe Crouch. Indiana was beaten 2-0 in the second quarter and the Bruins went into halftime with a 5-3 lead.
In the third quarter, Indiana lost control of the game and UCLA took a 7-2 lead. Though sophomore center Sophie Sollie and freshman Megan Holcomb each scored in the third quarter, UCLA still led the game 12-5.
Graduate goaltender Mary Askew put on a valiant performance in the matchup with nine saves and three team-high steals. UCLA would win the season opener against Indiana by a score of 15-6.
After Friday night’s game against UCLA, Indiana traveled to Santa Barbara, California where they attended the USCB Winter Invite. Indiana’s first opponent in the Invitational was No. 11 University of California, San Diego.
After the first half, Indiana led 5-3 against UCSD. The Hoosiers extended their lead in the third half as second attacker Skylar Kidd scored back-to-back goals to give the Hoosiers an 8-3 lead.
The Tritons put together an answer and came within a score late in the third quarter. However, goals from Crouch and senior center Robyn Greenslade late in the half gave Indiana a 2-goal lead they would hold until the end of the game. Indiana would win their first game of the season 12-10.
Later that day, Indiana faced No. 19 University of California, Santa Barbara. The Hoosiers scored four goals in the first period and led the game 4-2. In the second quarter, the Gauchos began to control the pace of the game and went into halftime with a 7-5 lead.
By the end of the third period, UCSB was four points ahead, forcing Indiana to put in a wonderful fourth-quarter performance to steal the game. Indiana scored two more goals in the final quarter, but the Hoosiers couldn’t stop the Gauchos from winning the game 13-10.
Indiana’s final game of the weekend was against California State University, Fullerton. The Hoosier’s had an early 2-0 advantage over the Sea Otters with goals from Sollie and second attacker Grace Hathaway. With 6 minutes and 17 seconds in the second period, Indiana had already dug CSUF into a hole and led 7-2.
The second half was controlled by Indiana as they edged CSUF 10-2. Indiana won their last game of the weekend 19-5.
The Hoosiers took a 2-2 lead over the weekend and now have a 2-2, 0-1 aggregate record in conference play.
Indiana will return to Bloomington next weekend to host the Hoosier Invitational on January 28-29 at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
Follow reporter Marnie Sara (.@Mars45) for updates throughout the remainder of the Indiana water polo season.