No. 14 Indiana water polo finishes invitational season strong, goes 3-1 at Harvard

No. 14 Indiana won three of its four games this past weekend at the Harvard Invitational in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Hoosiers beat No. 20 Harvard University, California Lutheran University and No. 23 Brown University, but fell to No. 15 Wagner College.

Indiana’s weekend got underway Saturday afternoon against the host team, Harvard. Senior goalkeeper Mary Askew returned in net for the Hoosiers after not starting last weekend. She started all four of the team’s games this weekend.

The Hoosiers battled with Harvard in the first quarter to a 2-2 tie at the end of the first. The Crimson outscored the Hoosiers 4-2 in the second quarter and led the Hoosiers 6-4 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Hoosiers inched closer and reduced the deficit to just a goal but still found themselves trailing going into the fourth quarter. A terrific defensive showing limited Harvard to just one goal in the fourth quarter, and goals from senior center Izzy Mandema and junior utility Zoe Crouch helped the Hoosiers tie the game late.

At the final buzzer, a 9-9 tie sent the game into overtime, marking the Hoosiers’ third overtime game in their last seven games.

In overtime, all the momentum was on the Hoosiers’ side. They went on to score three unanswered goals to defeat Harvard 12-9. Crouch added to her scoring total of 17 goals with a hat trick against the Crimson.

Related: [No. 14 Indiana water polo heads east this weekend for Harvard Invitational]

Later on Saturday evening, Indiana took on No. 15 Wagner in its first of three top-25 matchups. The Seahawks got off to a fast start against the Hoosiers, taking a 3-1 lead after the first eight minutes. The Hoosiers’ offense found its rhythm in the second quarter, though, outscoring the Seahawks 3-1 in that span. At half time, the teams were tied 4-4.

While the offenses were on full display in the first half, the defenses came more prepared in the second half. Each team was only able to put one goal in the back of the net in the third quarter, which left the game tied at 5-5 going into the fourth quarter.

The teams traded goals again to start the fourth quarter, but Wagner found the deciding goal late. After a missed last-second shot from the Hoosiers, the Seahawks won a tight game, 7-6.

The Seahawks were stellar on the defensive end in the closing stages, shutting out the three Hoosier leaders in points from scoring: Mandema along with attackers senior Tina Doherty and freshman Skylar Kidd.

Early Sunday morning, the Hoosiers took on California Lutheran in their third game of the weekend. Indiana got up to an early 3-1 lead in the first quarter and duplicated that performance in the second to lead 6-2 going into halftime.

The Hoosiers shut out the Regals in the third quarter and also extended their lead to eight goals before the fourth quarter. California Lutheran outscored Indiana in the fourth quarter 3-2, but it wouldn’t matter, as the Hoosiers routed the Regals 12-5 for their second victory in three games.

Related: [Late goals guide Indiana water polo to 2-2 weekend against tough competition at Kalbus Invite]

Mandema continued her dominant season, scoring four goals in the win over California Lutheran. After this weekend, Mandema has 43 total goals.

The Hoosiers closed the weekend out against No. 23 Brown on Sunday afternoon. Indiana got off to another fast start, taking a 3-2 lead by the end of the first quarter. Indiana dominated the second quarter as well and shut out the Bears to extend its lead to 6-2 going into halftime.

Brown closed the gap in the third as they outscored the Hoosiers 3-1 but were unable to completely close the deficit. Indiana led 7-5 after the third quarter. The Bears ‘fourth-quarter comeback effort was thwarted by the Hoosiers’ late-game defense, and they went on to win 9-6.

After going 3-1 at the Harvard Invitational this weekend, the Hoosiers are 10-9 overall and over the 0.500 mark for the first time since the start of the season when they were 5-4.

The invitational portion of the season has concluded, and Indiana will take on the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference opponent No. 3 University of Southern California next on March 12 in Los Angeles, California.

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