Iona Water Polo begins new season in new conference

This is the first time Iona College will compete in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference in at least 10 years. // Photo courtesy of

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Staff Writer

The Iona College men’s water polo team began their spring season on Feb. 12 as they fight to gain a spot in their new conference’s tournament.  


The Gaels will compete in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference’s East division this season after numerous teams in their home conference, the Northeast Water Polo Conference, decided not to compete in 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns. Cross-town rivals Fordham, as well as LaSalle, have also opted into the MAWPC this season. 


Tournament play for the MAWPC is scheduled to begin on March 6, according to a release on the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s website.  


Following the teams opener against Fordham, three consecutive games were postponed for the Gaels, including a rematch against Fordham on Feb. 14, a game against LaSalle on Feb. 14, and another game against Fordham scheduled for Feb. 20. 


These challenges are to be expected in a pandemic year, and head coach Brian Kelly said in an interview via phone call that he and his players are working on getting into mid-season form in such a shortened season.  


Safety remains the team’s top concern, Kelly emphasized in the interview, as players and staff continue to follow and reinforce protocols in place to keep everyone healthy and keep the team in the water.  


Kelly praised the leadership of his three seniors, Andrew Brozovic, Brett Hofer and Patrick Hudak, citing how important their experience is to the team, especially given the new and ever-changing environment that the squad is playing in during this season.  


The three seniors were recently named captains for the 2021 season. Kelly has coached the trio since they began their collegiate careers, and Kelly says that this chemistry results in better communication with his team as a whole. 


Kelly also highlighted how pleased he is with the talent and work ethic that the newly added freshmen on this year’s squad have shownThey will only continue to grow as they get more comfortable playing at the collegiate level, Kelly added.  


Andrew Miller, who had a three-goal performance in his Iona debut in the season opener, is among the group of new players that will look to make a difference for the Gaels this season.  


The Gaels are scheduled to take on Navy on Sunday in their second match of the season. Start time is scheduled for 1 p.m.