Communication, competitiveness major goals for women’s water polo



Junior Jordan Van Reeken has 13 goals from 28 shots and two assists, with a .464 shot percentage.

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor

The Iona College women’s water polo team enters their nineteenth season with competitiveness and communication as the major goals to work towards this semester.

The Gaels look to improve from their 16-17 overall, 9-5 conference records during the 2019 season. Being able to give each and every team a hard time in the pool is one of the keys to success for them, according to head coach Brian Kelly.

Iona travelled to the University of California, Santa Barbara winter invite on Jan. 17 to take on some of the best of the west, including No. 4 UCLA, No. 12 University of California, San Diego and No. 11 and hosts UCSB. The team performed with that sense of competitiveness the 2019 Gaels lacked last season, according to Kelly.

“We had a similar tournament last year and we did not do ourselves any favors,” Kelly said. “We had a lack of competitiveness in those games and got smoked. [This year,] we competed with them, we made them work [and] I was really happy with the efforts.”

The major roadblock for the Gaels is the communication between players, Kelly explained. Working on that aspect of the play will help all of the other parts of the team come together to create a competitive squad that fights each and every match.

Another roadblock presented to the Gaels was the slump the winter break had on the team. Getting back to the basics is a task itself that the team had to overcome. The UCSB winter invite helped them get back to their groove, Kelly explained.

Another break that’s hit Iona is a three-and-a-half-week period with no matches, between their double header Saturday against Brown and Harvard and their next game on Feb. 19 against Princeton. The time off is valuable for the team to work on aspects of the game they struggle with, according to Kelly.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are when you’re constantly playing,” Kelly said.

The break provides the time needed to buff out any problems the team may have with full training sessions dedicated to them, which is ideal for the Gaels to work towards a successful regular and playoff season, according to Kelly.