Press Release courtesy of Indiana Athletics
Indiana head water polo coach Ryan Castle has unveiled the road map for the Hoosiers’ 2018 spring season. The 34-game schedule includes at least nine teams from last year’s final top-25 and three reigning conference champions.
The Hoosiers will host two full home invitational weekends at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center, in addition to a standalone home game against Michigan on Saturday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m. ET.
“Overall, we are very excited with this year’s schedule,” Castle said. “From start to finish we’re going to be play a lot of games this year, which is an awesome opportunity for our younger group to get a lot of experience before we head into a challenging conference schedule.”
Due to the Hoosiers’ ability to better align their season schedule with the players’ academic needs, Castle added, Indiana will play a lot more games at home this year. IU only played one regular season game at home in 2017; this year, with the announcement of the Hoosier Invite and the Indiana Classic, the Hoosiers will play nine games and one exhibition in the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
The home slate begins with the Hoosier Invite, Indiana’s second tournament of the season, in late January. The Hoosiers play an exhibition against the University of Toronto on January 27 at 10:00 a.m. ET—a unique experience for the four Canadians on Indiana’s roster—followed by a showdown with UC Santa Barbara at 8:00 p.m. The next day on January 28, Indiana will host Iona at 12:00 p.m. and McKendree at 2:30 p.m.
After two tournament weekends away from home the Hoosiers return for the Indiana Classic for five games, starting with their CWPA opener against Hartwick at 10:00 a.m. on March 3. That game day includes two more games, as the Hoosiers play Cal Lutheran at 3:00 p.m. and Santa Clara at 8:00 p.m. Indiana returns to the pool that Sunday, March 4, for a showdown with VMI at 10:00 a.m. and a game versus Marist at 3:30 p.m.
Prior to the start of their full CWPA weekends, the Hoosiers will travel to four tournament weekends on the west coast. That begins in Santa Barbara with the UCSB Winter Invite, where the Hoosiers open with Fresno State on January 20 at 2:20 p.m. ET followed by another classic clash with UC San Diego at 7:30 p.m. They close the weekend against Arizona State on January 21 at 12:10 p.m. and an exhibition versus the Chinese Women’s National Team at 4:20 p.m. This weekend will set the Hoosiers on a positive path to start the season, Castle noted, as it allows for tough competition from the onset.
Following the Hoosier Invite, Indiana travels to the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego from February 10-11. The weekend schedule remains to be determined, but it provides an opportunity for senior Sarah Young, a La Jolla High School alum, to play one more set of games in her hometown. Castle made a point that regardless of the field, the Triton Invitational annually brings together some of the best teams in the nation.
The Santa Clara Invite awaits Indiana after the Triton Invitational, set to run from February 24-25. Indiana faces Sonoma State at 2:40 p.m. ETand UC Davis at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday; Sunday concludes the weekend away with a true away game versus Santa Clara at 12:20 p.m. and against CSU Monterey Bay at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Indiana will spend part of spring break in Tempe for the Sun Devil Invite following the Indiana Classic, playing three games including two rematches from the UCSB Winter Invite on March 10. They face Fresno State, Pomona-Pitzer, and the hosting Sun Devils that weekend, with start times to be determined.
The Hoosiers precede their CWPA schedule with an incredibly unique opportunity, as they face Washington & Jefferson on March 19 at Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. The game brings college water polo to Cincinnati and a high school that’s made a genuine initiative toward grassroots water polo in the Midwest.
After the Hoosiers’ standalone CWPA game with Michigan in Bloomington on March 31, Indiana cracks open a full weekend of conference foes in Harvard’s Blodgett Pool. Indiana faces Brown at 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, April 6. Saturday’s slate includes Princeton at 2:00 p.m. and the hosting Crimson at 7:00 p.m. The Hoosiers wrap up the regular season on Sunday, April 8 against George Washington at 9:15 a.m. and Bucknell at 2:15 p.m.
Indiana will battle for the CWPA Championship from April 27-29 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, as Bucknell hosts the annual clash against the best from the East Coast. The 2018 NCAA Championships will run fromMay 11-13 at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles.
Given the Hoosiers’ consistent matchups against tough competition and their personnel in the pool, this year stacks up well for Castle’s second season at the helm. Indiana returns their entire starting lineup, a six-person senior class loaded with playing experience and accolades, and five players with senior- or junior-level international experience, the Hoosiers could be on the brink of a special season in Bloomington.
“We have also added some great freshmen to our program who we can expect to see contribute this year,” Castle added. “What’s been the most exciting, however, is to see the growth and development of our sophomore group – their game sense and confidence particularly has really grown and its inspiring to watch them practice.”