No. 15 Indiana water polo loses in home opener against University of California, Berkeley

No. 15 Indiana water polo played in its first home match of the season Monday with hopes of bouncing back from its loss to No. 7 Michigan. The Hoosiers were unable to take down the No. 4 University of California, Berkeley, Golden Bears in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference matchup, losing 15-5 at Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington.

Entering Monday’s matchup, the Hoosiers were 10-11 so far this season, including an 0-2 record within conference play. They looked to notch their first conference win of the season and their first overall win since March 6 when they defeated then-No. 23 Brown College 9-6.

UC Berkeley came into the matchup posting a 13-2 record overall including a 2-2 record in conference play. The Golden Bears are led by senior striker Emma Wright, who leads her team with 56 total points on the season, placing her fifth among all players on teams in the MPSF conference.

The Golden Bears got off to a quick start, putting a goal in the back of the net 26 seconds into the match. UC Berkeley junior utility Cecily Turner was credited with the first goal of the match. Almost one minute later at the 6:36 mark of the first quarter, the Golden Bears scored again on a fast break to take a 2-1 lead.

The Hoosiers continued to push as senior center Izzy Mandema knocked in her 46th goal of the season during an Indiana power play to reduce the team’s deficit to just one goal.

Related: [No. 15 Indiana water polo falls short in rematch against No. 7 Michigan on Saturday]

UC Berkeley continued to pour it on in the first quarter, scoring two more goals with just over four minutes remaining. Going into the second quarter, the Hoosiers trailed 5-1.

The second quarter started the same as the first, as the Golden Bears scored another pair of goals to make it 7-1 before the second quarter’s halfway mark. They were able to stretch the lead to as many as seven goals before halftime.

The Hoosiers’ scoring drought stopped with just over two minutes left in the second quarter as sophomore driver Kallie White notched the team’s second goal of the afternoon. The scoring didn’t stop there for Indiana, as freshman utility Portia Sasser took advantage of a Golden Bears penalty to cut the deficit to five goals with just over a minute remaining before halftime.

Despite back-to-back goals from the Hoosiers to end the first half, the Golden Bears held an 8-3 lead at halftime.

The Hoosiers’ momentum going into the second half quickly faded as the Golden Bears continued their scoring barrage in the third quarter. UC Berkeley scored four goals and held Indiana scoreless out of the break and went into the last eight minutes ahead 12-3.

The two teams traded goals in the fourth quarter of gameplay, including goals from Hoosiers’ junior utility Katherine Hawkins and Mandema. Despite the evenly contested final frame, the Golden Bears still managed to outscore the Hoosiers 3-2 to wrap the match up and win 15-5.

Wright and Turner each notched hat tricks for the Golden Bears against the Hoosiers.

Related: [No. 15 Indiana water polo unable to keep up with No. 3 USC in Los Angeles]

With her two goals Monday, Mandema has now scored 47 total goals this season and will be in search of 50 when Indiana plays a doubleheader at home on Saturday.

“She’s been huge for us all four years, so we looked at her leadership and her consistent play a lot,” Indiana head coach Taylor Dodson said. “She was good today, and we need her to be that good every day.”

Following Monday’s loss, the Hoosiers have just six regular-season matches remaining before the MPSF conference tournament gets underway on April 22. Dodson said she and the Hoosiers are optimistic heading into the end of the season.

“We talk all the time about finding our next best game and consistent play,” Dodson said. “We want to be playing our best in April. I think we’re getting there. “

The Hoosiers dive right back into competitive play on March 26 for a doubleheader against no. 13 San Jose State University at 11 am and then against Salem University at 3:30 pm in Bloomington.

“We’re just excited to play at home in front of fans and for people who don’t know about water polo to be able to show them that a little bit,” Dodson said.

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