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Water polo finishes sixth at NCAA Championship

May 15, 2011

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A fourth quarter surge pulled the No. 6 seed/No. 10 nationally ranked Indiana Hoosiers women's water polo team (26-13) within one of No. 5 seed/No. 7 nationally ranked UC Irvine with under four minutes to play, but it was not enough as the Cream and Crimson fell 12-8 in the fifth place game on Sunday at the NCAA Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"I thought we were a little sluggish defensively," said Indiana head coach Barry King. "A full weekend of tough contests may have added to it, but we got right and powered our way back into the game. We gave up some unfortunate goals in the end that stunted the rally. All in all, the effort level was tremendous and on par with what this group has been giving all year."

Barry King

Photo by Mike Dickbernd/IU Athletics

The Hoosiers finished the memorable 2011 campaign with 26 wins, tying the single-season school record set by the 1998 and 2003 squads. Indiana ended the year with an impressive 24 wins in its last 29 contests.

"They may have tied the season record, but the level of competition that they did it against was far and away a completely different level than those other two years," said King. "This group has been dedicated to one purpose about playing in this tournament and playing at the highest level possible. They've proven themselves to being the team that they wanted to be."

Jakie Köhli put together another standout performance, racking up five goals, including three in the fourth period. Nicole Redder scored two goals, a feat she accomplished in all three NCAA Championship contests. Shae Fournier added one for the Hoosiers, along with two assists, a steal, and a field block.

Cassie Wyckoff finished with seven saves and a steal in the cage. The Los Altos, Calif. native finished with 26 saves during the three-game tournament.

UCI got on the board first with a goal at the 6:26 mark of the opening period on a power play after rotating the ball around the perimeter for an open shot.

Fournier responded for the Hoosiers with a six-on-five conversion on a skip shot after a cross pass from Köhli to knot things up at 1-1.

The Anteaters capitalized on another power play with 34 seconds left in the period, scoring from five-meters straightaway.

UCI built momentum during the second quarter, posting three straight goals, including two on lob shots to gain a 5-1 lead.

Köhli fired in a pair of goals in the final 2:08 of the half to bring the Hoosiers back within two at the half. Both strikes came on power plays, with the latter coming with 17 seconds remaining in the half.

After a UCI goal in the opening minute of the second half, Kara Butler came up with a nifty assist out of the post to an open Redder, who converted from five-meters to cut the deficit back to two with 3:48 to play in the third.

The Anteaters ended the quarter with a two-goal run to go up 8-4 heading into the fourth after a lob at the 1:16 mark, followed by a rebound backhand score. UCI followed that up with a skip shot goal 23 seconds into the final stanza to go up by five.

The Hoosiers mounted a ferocious charge during the middle portion of the fourth, scoring four straight goals and completely reversing momentum.

Köhli got the rally started with a power play conversion after the dish from Fournier, followed by a Redder six-on-five goal 17 seconds later from close-range to pull within three.

Köhli continued to scorch the nets as the fourth period went on, lobbing in a marker after a (Lauren) Wyckoff assist. The Burnaby, B.C. native then notched her fifth goal at the 3:31 mark when her shot nailed the side bar and crept past the UCI goalkeeper to bring the Hoosiers back within one. Köhli was assisted by Kelsey Campbell on the play. Campbell finished the contest with a team-high three helpers.

UCI halted the Indiana run by rebounding a miss and backhanding it past Wyckoff to go up 10-8 with 3:03 to play. The Anteaters converted a power play goal with 1:08 remaining and added a late score on a skip shot to end the contest.