Men’s water polo begins season


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Luksa Vlasic was the top scorer for the Gaels last season with 75.

Lachlan Wellington, Sports Editor

The Iona men’s water polo team began their 2022 season on Sept. 3-4 at the Navy Open in Annapolis, MD at the Scott Natatorium.  

The Gaels dropped their first two games on Sept. 3 against Mount St. Mary’s University and the University of California, Berkeley.  

The game against Mount St Mary’s was a tight affair with the Gaels losing in double-overtime 12-13, and although the Gaels lost 7-23 against California, they were playing the number one ranked team in the country.  

The second day of the competition featured better results as the Gaels won both matches to split their first tournament 2-2.  

Iona won the first game of the day against Bucknell after the Bisons forfeited with the score tied 3-3 as both coaches for the opposition were disqualified.  

In another dramatic affair, the Gaels won the second game of the day 14-13 against California Lutheran. Iona went ahead by three goals halfway through the second quarter, before the Gaels allowed five straight goals in the fourth quarter. At the buzzer, the Gaels won the match as Mohamed Refaat’s shot was tipped in by a Lutheran defender to win the game. 

“It was a good weekend,” said head coach Brian Kelly, according to the Iona University Athletics website. “We had a chance to win three games which would have made it an excellent opening weekend. We learned a lot in every game, especially against the national champion California Golden Bears. We have a very exciting young team. It’s going to be a great season.” 

The Gaels are coming off finishing 5th in the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) last campaign.  

The NWPC Conference features seven teams, Brown University, Connecticut College, Harvard University, Iona University, MIT, Princeton University and St. Francis Brooklyn.  

Iona’s rank was also 5th in the regular season, and they were knocked out of the NWPC Tournament by the 4th seed, Brown University 14-11, however they did manage to win their two consolation matches against Connecticut College (15-7) and MIT (11-7).  

Iona will look to improve on their finish last season and try to compete with top nationally ranked schools such as Princeton University, St. Francis College Brooklyn, and Harvard University which rounded out the top three positions in the NWPC last time around.  

The team has 14 returning players from last season and has also brought in nine new additions to the squad for the upcoming season.  

They have also graduated Michael Feeley from last year’s roster and two players will not be returning from the 2021-2022 squad.  

Looking ahead, the Gaels will compete in the Princeton Invitational on Sept. 10-11 against Wagner, Navy, Santa Clara and George Washington.  

After that, the Gaels will take the trip to Air Force for a tournament where they will play the hosts: Westcliff, Chapman, La Verne and Redlands Sept. 16-18. 

The Gaels will then start NWPC games beginning with a home double-header on Oct. 1 against the number 16 seed, Harvard University, and MIT.  

The last five games of the regular season for the Gaels will be away from New Rochelle, as they conclude with a double-header against Brown University and Connecticut College on Nov. 6.  

Iona’s conference features four nationally ranked teams including St Francis Brooklyn (20), Brown (19), Harvard (16) and Princeton (11).  

The 2022 Northeast Water Polo Championships will be held on Nov. 18-20 in Providence, Rhode Island.