Women’s water polo nearing a Top 25 ranking


Photo Courtesy of icgaels.com

Iona was ranked at #24 last season on March 31 by the Collegiate Water Polo Association. 

Lachlan Wellington, Sports Editor

The Iona women’s water polo team find themselves on the verge of the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s Top 25 rankings after an upset win over #24 Marist on March 26.  

The team currently holds a 14-7 record on the season and a 5-2 record in conference play and boast an overall win rate of 0.636 and 0.714 in conference play. They are also in hot form as they are on a five-game winning streak.  

The Gaels began their season at the 2022 UCSB Winter Invite, which was played in Santa Barbara, California. Here, the Gaels played three ranked teams and although losing all three, they pushed #20 Princeton close in a 9-12 defeat. In the other two games the Gaels lost 8-18 to #10 Indiana and 7-17 against #16 San Jose State. 

The Gaels won their final game at the USCB Invite 16-11 against Ottawa Arizona.  

Since the UCSB Invite, the Gaels have played a further four ranked opponents. They lost a close game against #24 Bucknell, 7-10 at the 2022 Princeton Invitational. The Gaels then played both #5 Michigan and Bucknell again, losing the former 6-17, but upsetting Bucknell 9-8 in a revenge win.  

The Gaels began MAAC play in a tournament held in Lexington, Virginia. The Gaels came away from this tournament winning one and losing two. The Gaels lost the first game 14-15 against La Salle and beat Virginia Military Institute 14-10.  

Over the weekend the Gaels played four MAAC matches at the Hynes Center Pool. The Gaels won their first game against Marist 15-13 on March 26, before then beating Siena 13-8 the same day.  

The Gaels then played another double header against Saint Francis Brooklyn and VMI on March 27, where they beat up on both teams, winning 18-9 and 20-9 respectively. 

Senior Jordan Van Reeken sits as the top scorer for the Gaels this season and also leads the team in steals. She has been supported by fellow senior Maeve Ellen Wydan, who is second in goals scored for the Gaels. 

Wydan also leads the Gaels in assists this season.  

Danielle Hernandez has also contributed a good number of steals for the Gaels. In sprint terms, Kaya Hart has a percentage of .396 (21-32) while Nikki Salerno boats a .813 sprint percentage (13-3).  

The Gaels season has already been much more productive than the 2021 COVID-affected season where they only played MAAC games and finished with a 2-7 record. The team will be hoping to qualify for the MAAC Championships by finishing in the top four places of the regular season.  

Looking ahead, the Gaels’ next three matches are all against nationally ranked teams. They travel to Poughkeepsie to play Marist on April 2, before playing later that evening at home against Wagner. The Gaels will play #20 Long Island University in New Rochelle on the following day.  

The MAAC Championship for Women’s Water Polo will be held on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24 in Poughkeepsie, New York, hosted by Marist.