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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Men’s water polo season done after early round exit

Photo courtesy of ionagaels.com
Iona’s Nov. 17 victory continued a three-game winning streak dating back to Nov. 5.

The Iona University men’s water polo team concluded their season after competing in the 2023 Northeast Water Polo Championship from Nov. 17-19.  

The Gaels entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed after back-to-back wins against Long Island University and Connecticut College to cap off the regular season. 

The opening round of the playoffs was held at Blodgett Pool in Cambridge, M.A., as the Gaels took on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineers.  

Junior tri-captain Luksa Vlasic peppered the scoresheet for Iona, going four-for-seven on shot attempts, including the game-winner on a man-up exclusive advantage in double overtime.  

Senior Drew Miller and sophomore Coby Scanlon paved the way with three scores of their own, while senior Trippe Bauman totaled six of Iona’s ten assists.  

Senior Diego Gomez stood tall in goal, saving 12 of the Engineers’ 34 shots and making one steal. Overall, Iona’s defense put together 12 steals and blocked three MIT shots.  

Moving forward to the semifinal round, the Gaels had their hands full with No. 1 Princeton University on deck. 

Turnovers and odd-man advantages hindered Iona throughout the game, with 13 such errors committed overall, and four goals scored by Princeton on nine man-up chances. Scanlon also won just one of his four swim-offs, leading to a 7-4 Tigers advantage heading into the second period.  

Later on, in the third period, Miller stole a Princeton pass and scored to bring Iona within four at 12-8.  

Bauman then converted his second five-meter penalty attempt, but that proved to be the team’s final goal of the outing. Six consecutive Princeton goals brought the eventual score to 19-9 at the final buzzer.  

Head coach Brian Kelly praised the Maroon and Gold’s efforts in the first three periods of the game, but was let down after an underwhelming fourth period.  

“We had three very good quarters, especially on offense,” Kelly said. “I wasn’t happy how we unraveled in the fourth quarter in every facet of the game, but that’s what one of the best teams in the country will do to you.” 

Iona’s last game came through a matchup with Brown University, the other semifinal loser, for third place in the tournament.  

Vlasic and senior James DiSalle posted team-highs of three goals, while Miller and junior Edward Imm had a pair of their own.  

Gomez could only muster three saves out of the Bears’ 37 shots, but made four steals and added an assist on the scorecard.  

The Gaels were down throughout the entire affair, even with a late rally spearheaded by DiSalle in the fourth period.  

Brown ultimately won after a final score of 20-11, handing the Bears third place honors behind Harvard and Princeton.  

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Robert Hughes, Sports Editor

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